Monthly Archives: January 2021

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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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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WEF on ULEZ

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.”

Continue reading…
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Getting to Zero – regional impacts

6 January 2021: All too often the regional impacts of climate and energy policies are ignored. As we bring in further actions to decarbonise our economy it’s increasingly clear that some parts of the country will benefit or be adversely impacted than other parts – and it’s something that needs to be better understood if we are to ensure that the transition we undertake to a cleaner energy system is a fair transition, taking into account those jobs and industries that will likely need to close.

A new report by centre-right thinktank Onwards, Getting to Zero, touches upon this issue highlighting that: “if we look collectively at all the industries responsible for more than 2% of annual greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, we see that these industries are concentrated more in some parts of the UK than others. On a regional level, East Midlands, West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber, have the highest proportion of jobs in high emitting industries: 42%, 41% and 38% respectively. As Figure 11 shows, the industrial and manufacturing heartlands in the Midlands and North are far more likely to experience economic disruption during the net zero transition than the South East and London. This may be positive – in the form of new green jobs, or it may be negative through job losses – but the fact remains some places will be affected more than others.

The report undertakes further mapping by Parliamentary constituency and sets out that “urban areas have the lowest reliance on high emitting jobs and transport. Notable examples are Islington and Hackney, both of which are areas in the bottom ten for both high emitting employment and transport emissions. This is likely due to the high reliance on the service economy over a production economy and superior public transport links in dense urban areas like London.” This is a first in a series of papers planned by Onward – and worth a quick look at.

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London Plan carbon/energy consultations

January 2021: A bit late highlighting – but there are two key GLA planning guidance document out for consultation, linked to new energy policies in the new 2020 London Plan. Both documents have a deadline for response of 15 January 2021.

Whole Life Carbon Assessments London Plan Guidance
This document provides advice on the preparation of Whole Life-Cycle Carbon Assessments, which are required for certain planning applications that measures the carbon emissions resulting from the materials, construction and the use of a building over its entire life, including its demolition and disposal. The consultation document is available here; respond via the following webpage.

The assessment should cover the development’s carbon emissions over its life-time, accounting for:

  • its operational carbon emissions (both regulated and unregulated)
  • its embodied carbon emissions
  • any future potential carbon emissions ‘benefits’, post ‘end of life’, including benefits from reuse and recycling of building structure and materials. See also London Plan Policy SI 7 ‘Reducing waste and supporting the circular economy’.
Continue reading…
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Climate and The City

1 January 2021: Good to see the Lord Mayor of London highlight the role the ‘City’ will have to play in terms of tackling climate change this coming year.

The City of London has recently adopted a Climate Action Strategy and undertook a number of innovative actions in 2020 – including securing a long terms renewable power purchase agreement (PPA).

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