The peaceful direct actions of Extinction Rebellion are a result of exasperation with a collective failure on the part of decision makers to really address the climate crisis.

The letters, polite requests, etc, regarding the climate crisis have not brought the action required. So the protesters have taken to the streets, committing acts of civil disorder to try to get the politicians to take notice.

The politicians are beginning to act. But are they moving quickly enough?

The influential report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned last year that there were 12 years to save the planet – taking measures to ensure that global warming does not go above 1.5C.

Well warming has increased, some of it in the form of the hot air coming out of many politicians and business people’s mouths. But how much action? Scientists are saying the actions taken are nothing like what is required, with the planet heating up to levels that are set to go well over the 1.5C.

In June, Cllr Jo Blackman and myself brought a climate emergency motion to Redbridge Council. It was duly passed, with the council now committed to a number of actions to address the emergency. These include a green audit of council services, measures to tackle air pollution, especially around schools, the cutting of plastic use and more energy efficiency in buildings.

Trees and wildflower planting were among the moves outlined to increase biodiversity.

So far, progress has been slow. A corporate panel is to be established to oversee the process. There are other task and finish groups looking at nature and the environment and transport.

There are positive things happening like the roll out of the Local Implementation Plan, which seeks to bring Redbridge transport modes in line with the Mayor of London’s target of 80 per cent of journeys being by foot, cycle or public transport by 2041.

However, the level of progress in no way matches what is required to meet the targets recommended by the IPCC report.

Some councillors get it, some council officers get it, but there is still a long way to go. Funds need to be found to address the climate crisis. It is no good thinking that planting a few flowers and doing a bit more recycling is enough to solve the crisis.

There needs to be substantial change, council budgets need to be shifted to reflect this commitment. Dipping into the odd pot of available cash to plant a few more trees really won’t cut it.

Running local services has been made more and more difficult over the past nine years, with Redbridge Council suffering 60 per cent in cuts from central government funding. However, the council has proved resourceful and innovative in the way that the reduced funding pot has been used. Now, it will be called on again to spend the money in a different way to meet the demand of the climate crisis.

Redbridge students expressed their desire to see real action on climate at the recent extraordinary full council meeting.

Some councillors are committed to keeping up the pressure for change. But residents groups need to also keeping up the pressure on the council to bring about these wholesale changes.

There has been so much energy expended on the Brexit that other far bigger threats like climate change, biodiversity destruction and pollution have been put on the back burner. This cannot continue, these climate challenges threaten our very existence on the earth – the magnitude is that great, so the time for minor fiddling while the planet burns has long since passed.

  • Paul Donovan is a Redbridge Labour councillor for Wanstead village and blogger. See