Bexley’s Conservative Councillors have been discussing ways in which we can make Bexley even cleaner, even greener, even more environmentally friendly, and address concerns residents rightly have about climate change. Councillor Peter Craske, Cabinet Member for Places, explains more.
“At a recent meeting of our Places Overview and Scrutiny Committee, I set out some of the things we have been doing towards making Bexley an even more environmentally friendly borough than now, and how we can continue to reduce our carbon footprint.
When you sit down and write up a list, you realise we have already done a huge amount and made a huge difference.
- We are one of London’s greenest Boroughs, with over 100 parks and open spaces, one of which – Danson – was voted the Best Park in London for 2019, and another, Lesnes, won an award for its work in attracting wildlife.
- For the last 15 years we have been the number one Council in London for recycling, and now send 54% of all waste collected to be recycled. This is at a time when London as a whole has a shocking record for recycling.
- We have finished replacing old, outdated street light bulbs with modern LED lights, which last for 12 years and are much cheaper to run.
- 2,500 people have signed up to our pledge to pick up one piece of plastic litter a week.
- The move into the Civic Office in Watling Street has not only saved money, it has reduced the Council’s carbon footprint. The building is much more energy efficient, and we even have a grass roof. And whereas staff were constantly spending their time travelling from one building to another, now everyone is in one place.
- We’re introducing electric vehicle charging points across the Borough and the Council’s own fleet is moving to be powered by electricity.
- We’re planting 1,000 new street trees, and have planted over 1400 new trees in our parks.
- New developments, from highway improvements to town centre regeneration schemes now include planting new trees or other environmentally friendly elements – for example, Albion Way, one of the Borough’s busiest roads has been changed from being a concrete jungle to a road lined with trees and plants.
- We’re doing work to reduce congestion and improve air quality by improving traffic flow. A case in point is the work in Bexleyheath which was completed 18 months ago, replacing traffic light controlled junction after traffic light controlled junction with roundabouts. Now traffic congestion has officially been reduced by 50%, with air quality improving as a result.
- In adult social care, care providers are now based on geographic areas than across the Borough, meaning they no longer need to travel back and forth.
- We’re constantly pushing for Crossrail to be opened, and then extended to Ebbsfleet.
- We’re encouraging more people to get on a bike by introducing more cycle lanes.
And, like everything else we do, we have just quietly got on with making these changes to improve the environment – and haven’t waited to declare a climate emergency before doing so.
But, also like everything else we do, we are not complacent and won’t be resting on our laurels.
There is much more we need to do, and all of us need to think together about how we can each contribute to this issue, and what positive changes we can make in our own lives.
Let’s all work together to make Bexley a place where we don’t just help the environment but a place where we improve the environment, for us and everyone else.”