It's now a year since we got elected as councillors for Wanstead Village - how time flies.

The year has been busy, dealing with people's day to day problems, as well as trying to help shape the bigger council vision for Redbridge.

Car parking permits, litter bins, planning issues, trees and crime have all figured amongst the casework. Hopefully we have resolved the majority of problems that have come our way.

It was pleasing to be able to get some CCTV cameras in the area to help counter crime. Also, helping to get a bit more help for community activists like the community gardeners and Wild Wanstead. There is still much more that can be done in this area.

Highlights of the year include the Wanstead Festival and Fringe held in September. Both go from strength to strength, attracting ever more participants with each passing year.

The Remembrance Day commemorations were moving events, bringing people together to mourn and remember.

It has been an exciting time, with the vision for Wanstead including a new swimming pool; a cleaner, greener environment and community hubs bringing services together in more accessible form for residents.

These objectives are at varying levels of development. The pool is all set to begin construction later in the year, with completion hopefully sometime next year.

The environmental charter has started to happen, with litter picks, more biodiversity and moves to address pollution. It is still early days though, with the charter only just launched. The success will depend on how many local people actually come forward to take up the challenge, via taking cleaner journeys, greater energy efficiency, less litter and more recycling, greater biodiversity and reducing individual carbon footprints.

The community hub is still at consultation stage, offering the chance for local residents to shape the building and service provision being provided.

On a Redbridge level, the council has done a good job in balancing the budget and finding new innovative ways of providing services. There are some exciting developments coming along.

A disappointment has been the slowness to act on environmental challenges. There is a climate emergency on us now.

There have been positive moves, like the planting of 15,000 trees in the borough and other efforts to increase biodiversity. But we are slow to bring in major change that could really transform the situation.

Something like the mini-Holland approach to transport and living seen in neighbouring Waltham Forest would really improve the health of people in Redbridge.

Redbridge should become a beacon for sustainable living – going to zero carbon as quick as possible. Hopefully, the motion that we are bringing forward next month calling on the council to declare a climate emergency, with measurable benchmarks being set to assess progress toward addressing the situation, will help move things forward.

The shadow of Brexit still hands over us all but hopefully that cloud may soon rise.

Overall, the first year has been an interesting and fulfilling time. There has been a glimpse of what can be achieved – the coming months will show whether those hopes can be realised.

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