2040 Net Zero Carbon London

January 2021: An open event organised by the Central London Energy Management Group (CLEMG) to be held on Thursday 18 February 2021 at 4pm which will will focus on the City of London and their plans to decarbonise. Full event registration details on eventbrite. The City of London Corporation published their detailed Climate Action Plan in October 2020 and is available to download here.

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“Southwark takes strides towards sustainable energy”

19 January 2021: Southwark press release announcing that the “Council today confirmed that all of the electricity in its offices and buildings, from the Town Hall to day centres and park huts, in addition to all of its street lighting, is now powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. Southwark is leading the way by ensuring that, as the largest council landlord in London, it is moving to more sustainable energy sources. Southwark Council’s electricity power source is changing to wind and solar farms, away from dirty fossil fuels, like coal.” The press release goes on to say that “Southwark Council is also working on renewable energy options for its schools and will be reaching out about this in a few months’ time.” No information is provided on the contract arrangements of this new renewable energy deal – however an August 2020 council paper ‘Contract Award Approval – Supply of gas and electricity to Southwark Council‘ sets out the detail – which includes:

  • On 7 April 2020, Southwark’s Cabinet agreed for the council to use the London Energy Project (LEP)/Laser framework agreement for the supply of gas and electricity to the council”
  • The Council has approved “the use of the Renewables Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) backed ‘green’ tariff for Corporate Estate (Schools, Civic Buildings, Street Lighting etc.), as part of the council’s commitment to carbon reduction”
  • The premium for green electricity at this time is between £0.40 and £0.50 MWh for each REGO volume that is 100% renewable backed. The estimated annual financial impact of sourcing green REGO-backed electricity based
  • on current consumption volumes is £10,000. This would cover the council’s corporate estate, including schools and community buildings.
  • With regards to a green source of gas; this is not available at the moment in either the quantity, or the price that makes it a viable option for the council’s estate. This element will be reviewed within the annual performance reporting as the situation develops.
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Net Zero Carbon Cities

19 January 2021: A new paper published through the World Economic Forum (WEF) ‘Shaping the Energy Future‘ programme looking at ‘Net Zero Carbon Cities: An Integrated Approach‘. The paper sets out that – as cities move to increasing levels of electrification of heat and transport systems, as well as generating more power locally through decentralised energy systems, an integrated approach across these actions is needed – which needs to involve:

  1. Implementation of systemic efficiency opportunities: In the decade ahead, stakeholders cities should focus on increasing renewable energy and electrification of final energy use, while using digitalization to integrate systems – for example, by optimizing energy demand for greater flexibility, accelerating the transition to e-mobility and decarbonizing heating and cooling. They should also focus on reducing land use and transport consumption through smart growth practices aiming at creating a compact urban form.
  2. Collaboration throughout the city value chain: Public-private cooperation among various sectors – infrastructure, real estate owners and developers, mobility, equipment and technology providers, and utilities – will create a more integrated, optimized system. City- and national-level policy and financing mechanisms should support these opportunities.

Direct link to the paper here.

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London Councils’ Climate Change Strategy

January 2021: Ahead of a 19 January London Councils’ Executive meeting, a useful briefing paper has been prepared for the committee highlighting work undertaken by the organisation since the November 2019 Joint Statement on Climate Change with those London boroughs who have signed a Climate Emergency declaration . Seven work areas have been identified, with lead local authorities appointed to take these initiatives forward:

  • #1 Retrofit London: Retrofit all domestic and non-domestic buildings to an average level of EPC B. Lead borough: LB Enfield and LB Waltham Forest
  • #2 Low-carbon development: Secure low carbon buildings and infrastructure via borough planning. Lead borough: LB Hackney and LB Tower Hamlets
  • #3 Halve petrol and diesel road journeys: Halve road journeys made by petrol and diesel via combined measures that can restrict polluting journeys and incentivise sustainable and active travel options. Lead borough: RB Kingston
  • #4 Renewable power for London: Secure 100% renewable energy for London’s public sector now and in the future. Lead borough: LB Islington
  • #5 Reduce consumption emissions: Reduce consumption emissions by two thirds, focusing on food, clothing, electronics and aviation. Lead borough: LB Harrow
  • #6 Build the green economy: Develop London’s low carbon sector and green our broader economy. Lead borough: LB Hounslow
  • #7 Creating a resilient and green London. Lead borough: LB Southwark

The paper sets out some a useful Indicative Timetable of Events and Milestones for London Councils over the coming months and up to COP26. Further detailed information on the full extent of the work undertaken to date through the joint declaration is available on the London Councils Climate Change page.

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London’s buses now meet ULEZ emissions standards across the entire city

14 January 2021: TfL press release announcing that “All buses in TfL’s 9,000-strong bus fleet now meet or exceed the cleanest Euro VI emissions standards. This is a major milestone in tackling toxic air pollution in the capital. This has significantly reduced the contribution from TfL buses to transport-related NOx emissions, with the proportion of transport nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions coming from TfL’s buses reducing from 15% to just four per cent.”

The release goes on to say that ” More than 400 all-electric buses have been introduced – including the UK’s first full routes of electric double decker buses – and around 300 additional zero-emission buses are expected to join the fleet by the end of this year. TfL continues to roll out electric buses, with routes including 106, C10 and P5 converting last year, and there are plans for 2,000 all-electric buses to be in operation by 2025.”

Further information on London’s plans for cleaner buses can be seen in the Mayor’s London Transport Strategy.

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Major North London heat network deal signed

14 January 2021: Press release from Enfield Council district energy company, Energetik, announcing that a long term agreement on the provision of heat has now been signed between the new energy from waste plant, to be built at the Edmonton EcoPark – and the major housing regeneration project based in Enfield, Meridian Water. “The agreement will provide a sustainable solution for the heating and hot water needs of more than 10,000 homes and businesses across the Meridian Water development, with the capacity to supply up to 30,000 more homes across the borough and beyond. Upon completion of the construction phase, Energetik will capture and use up to 60MW of otherwise untapped heat energy generated at NLWA’s replacement Energy Recovery Facility in Edmonton EcoPark.” Energetik states that “The reduction of emissions will be significant: homes connected to the Energetik heat network will reduce their consumption of fossil fuel and their carbon emission from heat by up to 92.3%. Moreover, with individual gas boilers no longer needed, the emission of excessive nitrogen oxides can be avoided, significantly benefiting local air quality and overall home safety for residents.

The route of the heat network from Edmonton EcoPark to the Meridian Water development can be seen from the graphic above (which can be zoomed in on here). The project was also awarded funding in November 2020 from the Mayor’s Green New Deal programme.

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Camden ‘Climate’ Journal

13 January 2021: The Camden New Journal’s latest issue has taken climate change as its core theme looking at what actions have been taken in the borough since the council declared a Climate Emergency over a year ago. The paper highlights that once a fringe issue the Council must now consider the environmental impact on every decision it takes. A selection of the articles contained within the paper are linked directly below.

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Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: what, why and where?

January 2021: Lots of discussions about LTNs (Low Traffic Neighbourhoods) being introduced in various parts of London over the past year. TfL have produced this helpful primer on the background to them. “Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) have been in London since the 1970s and more were introduced in spring 2020. You might already live in a LTN or be near one! ” Read full article here. A recent study of the LTN introduced around Railton Road (Lambeth) showed that traffic levels cut by a over a quarter (further info here). Much more at the London Cycle Campaign (LCC), including the following recent post.

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January 2021: World Economic Forum (WEF) article “These 5 projects are addressing the climate crisis and inequality in their cities” includes as a brief case study London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) stating that “The policy has led to 44,000 fewer polluting vehicles in the city every day, and a 44% reduction in roadside nitrogen dioxide (a gas that is harmful to human health) in the first 10 months. Fewer cars also means fewer greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change.” More on future plans for the extension of the ULEZ here.

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A renewed focus for sustainability at the V&A

January 2021: Blog post by Sara Kassam, who has recently taken on the enviable position of Sustainability Lead at the V&A, “a role created to embed sustainability within the institution“. Sara highlights a number of important areas relevant to the scope of work of the V&A which she will be concentrating on (including sustainability in the fashion industry) – but great to see that V&A have recently joined the London Climate Change Partnership (LCCP), which focuses on key adaptation actions that the city must act on in response to climate change. Sara also rightly highlights that the sites the museum are located in will need to take into the climate action plans set by their respective boroughs – specifically Kensington and Chelsea, Tower Hamlets and Newham.

A particular interesting energy aspect around Exhibition Road is the heat and power infrastructure based in sites such as the Natural History Museum (more here – but paywall) and Imperial College – and the opportunity to further extend the network in the area.

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Climate crisis will cause falling humidity in global cities

8 January 2021: Report in The Guardian “Urban regions around the world are likely to see a near-universal decrease in humidity as the climate changes, a study has found. The research suggests that building green infrastructure and increasing urban vegetation might be a safe bet for cities looking to mitigate rising temperatures. Half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, but cities only account for about 3% of global land surface. Lei Zhao, a scientist from the University of Illinois and the lead author of the paper published in Nature Climate Change, says this has meant that previous climate models have not produced data specific to cities.” Unfortunately the Nature Climate Change article is only available to buy or through subscription. The Guardian article can be accessed here. A longer run through the article is available in Wired – Climate Change Is Turning Cities Into Ovens. The GLA published in 2018 an online London Green Infrastructure Map and a Green Roofs Map and a comprehensive list of policies to support the growth green infrastructure in the capital are set out in the Mayor’s 2018 London Environment Strategy.

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London population set to decline for first time since 1988

7 January 2021: The Guardian reports today London population set to decline for first time since 1988 – picking up on some research issued as part of PWC’s 2021 UK and Global economic outlook. PWC’s research predicts the following: “Strikingly, London’s population could decline for the first time in the 21st century. Drivers of this would include city-dwellers rethinking their living situations in light of the pandemic, a smaller number of graduates arriving in the capital due to the rise of remote working, and reduced immigration“. This finding is one of 8 key predictions for 2021 for the UK – two of which are specifically around energy and climate issues:

  • One in eight cars newly registered in Great Britain are likely to be electric or hybrid. With the transport sector accounting for a third of all carbon dioxide emissions, the UK will have to transition away from petrol and diesel cars if it is to meet its target of net zero emissions by 2050. Following years of progress, the UK has the potential to see 1 in 8 new cars be electric or hybrid in 2021.
  • By the end of 2021, the majority of electricity generated in the UK could be from renewable sources. If it is to meet its net zero targets, the UK will need to transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources. In the same year it is hosting the COP26, the UK could reach this historic milestone, showcasing its progress on the green agenda.

The full PWC study highlights that “In an August 2020 survey conducted by the London Assembly, 4.5% of Londoners – or 416,000 people – responded that they would definitely move out of the city within the next 12 months.11 Pre-COVID, the ONS predicted that London’s population would grow by 56,000 people between 2020 and 2021. It would require just 14% of these respondents to actually move in 2021 to break even with this projection.”

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