Mayor: People of Lewisham need to wake up to Peak Oil reality

“Do you realise, that if Heavy Electricity falls from these headphones, not only would it blow my head off, but it would cut me completely in half… if you are a Member of Parliament or somebody in a powerful organisation and you’re listening to me right now let me say this to you I have a lot of television shows, a lot of radio shows and a big audience. Do something about it otherwise I’ll do something about it.”

- Caesar the Geezer,
Brass Eye

We promised you another reason why we brought up Peak Oil the other day. Far from being the preserve of “obscurantists” it is subscribed to by the Mayor of Lewisham.
At a recent Full Council meeting, Lewisham Mayor Steve Bullock responded to questions from Green Cllr Romayne Phoenix about whether he felt that Peak Oil is a “serious challenge” that needs to be addressed by Lewisham Council. After a pat answer about global challenges and solutions, there was a supplementary exchange:

Peak oil is indeed a global issue but do you agree that among its implications is that a scaling back of global transport and freight will cause the relocalising of economies, and that therefore local authorities have a duty to look at how they can prepare their own communities to deal with the specific consequences of fossil fuel depletion, distinct from other climate and sustainability concerns?

I agree with your general thesis. There are important questions, however, about the timescale involved and how these things will come to pass, not least because of the economic situation. I would certainly continue to provide leadership in the council and across the partnership. It is an issue which is a long term issue around step change. We will see many changes in the years ahead. One challenge to members is to explain to the electorate, who I think have yet to grasp the scale of what we face.

So the Mayor inserted important caveats, but nonetheless believes that the age of globalisation is coming to an end, scarcity is going to require a step-change in the way we organise our lives and that we need to re-localise our communities and he thinks our local political leaders have a duty to help us “grasp the scale of what we face.”

If the Mayor believes this, then shouldn’t it be the Council’s highest priority? Shouldn’t every decision – from planning to investment – be aimed at encouraging local centres, replacing cars with cyclists and pedestrians, insulating homes properly, encouraging more dense development around transport hubs, no compromises at Lewisham Gateway or Convoys Wharf, encouraging car clubs, discouraging supermarkets that rely on car parks.

How would Peak Oil re-shape Lewisham? We can think of one local example. The Council’s attitude that the redevelopment of Brockley Cross must not be allowed to interfere with the flow of traffic would have to be reconsidered.

What else?