Tag Archives: London Councils

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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Climate-related incidents affecting eight in ten councils

11 December 2020: The Local Government Association (LGA) latest research on the effects of climate change on local authorities shows that eight in ten councils have suffered climate-related incidents in the last five years. The findings emerge from a survey (conducted to October 2020) of Directors of Environment or equivalent of all councils in England which is available here.

Nine London boroughs responded to the survey. The results are aggregated, so no specific London-results are set out. The survey had roughly a 30 per cent response rate, with a majority of councils who had declared a climate emergency responding. Key findings include:

  • Around 72 per cent of local authorities surveyed were measuring their own scope 1 and 2 emissions, and 36 per cent were measuring their own scope 3 emissions.
  • Over 80 per cent of responding councils indicated that there was an executive council member of their authority whose portfolio specifies a lead role on climate change
  • The areas of expertise and skills most frequently identified as in need of further development were green economic planning (95 per cent) and low carbon procurement and low carbon budgeting (92 per cent).
  • The most frequently identified barrier to tackling climate change was funding (96 per cent), followed by legislation or regulation (93 per cent) and lack of workforce capacity (88 per cent).

Much more detail set out the survey results.

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LGA launches report to help councils tackle climate change

21 August 2020: “The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, has worked closely with the Centre for Public Scrutiny and has published a guide to help councils play a leading role in tackling the climate crisis at a local level. The resource, which sets out 10 scrutiny questions, will help all councils and policymakers to embed the necessary environmental, social and cultural changes that communities need to see to build resilience to respond to climate challenges such as investment strategies and transport plans.

The guide can be downloaded here and is a useful read setting out comprehensive suggestions on routes to develop a robust climate emergency plan including how future scrutiny of plans can be undertaken; including the local community and how to best engage the public in the plan; planning the involvement of local businesses, partners and employers to understand the local growth context. The 10 questions framing the report are as follows:

Continue reading…
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LGA and UKSSD launch Sustainable Development Guide for councils

17 July 2020: Local Government Association (LGA) news release announcing that the LGA and UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development have today launched a guide to “help councils engage with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a time when many are starting to re-think the role of local government in leading places and empowering people.” Read the full story and access the guide here.

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A framework for understanding local government sustainable energy capacity applied in England

April 2020: Academic research paper published in Energy Research & Social Science Volume 62, April 2020 looking at a critical issue of the lack of capacity within local authorities to engage on energy and climate issues.

“Analyses of local climate change governance and sustainable energy transitions have tended to focus on understanding broader governance networks, within which local governments are important actors. Such approaches often make appeals to (lack of) capacity when seeking to understand the many limits to local sustainability programmes, however local government capacity is rarely given a primary analytical focus. We offer a definition of local government sustainable energy capacity, organise it into six types, and explore it in relation to contextual factors across scales: political institutions; energy and climate change policies and material aspects of energy systems. This heuristic framework is applied to case studies of eight local and combined authorities in England, a country with particularly centralised political institutions and energy systems. We conclude that capacity is a useful lens through which to explore the extent to which, and importantly how, local governments can become active sustainability actors. We also find that the development of knowledge capacity is becoming increasingly important; that there is some evidence of political re-scaling in energy; and identify some ways in which material aspects of energy systems have significant implications for local government sustainable energy capacity. Open access article here.

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Ealing Southall Climate Crisis Summit

January 2020: Good to see Ealing Southall MP Vivendra Sharma is organising a climate change summit on the afternoon of Saturday 18 January at the Dominion Centre, Southhall. The summit will be “discussing why we need fundamental change and how we will achieve it. Across panel discussions, group activities and Q&A sessions, we will also be hearing from those climate campaigners who are leading the fight against the ecological disaster facing us.”

Ealing Council is one of the 26 London local authorities (to date) to declare a ‘Climate Emergency’ – which was agreed at the Council’s April 2019 meeting. A July 2019 council paper sets out some immediate priorities following the signing of the declaration (appendices to which are posted here), and further actions are also set out in a Cabinet meeting paper of October 2019).

Local community group, Ealing Transition, has been hugely successful by working with Schools Energy Co-op in deploying a number of solar projects on schools across the borough, details of which are set out in a presentation provided to Community Energy London in September 2019.

Full details and registration details of the Ealing Climate Crisis Summit event are on the following Eventbrite page.

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Councils should use bonds to fund green infrastructure projects

28 February 2016The Independent reports on a further supporter for the use of Green Bonds to help fund green infrastructure.“Councils should use bonds to fund much needed green infrastructure projects such as renewable energy and flood defences, according to the Lord Mayor of London.” Two quick things to note here: first, the Lord Mayor of London is not the Mayor of London  – but Leader of the Corporation of the City of London (one of London’s 33 boroughs) – a one year post largely undertaking ceremonial and social duties. Secondly, The Independent is actually quoting a former Lord Mayor – Sir Roger Gifford was appointed that post in 2012-13. The latest incumbent can seen here.

The Independent continues: “Sir Roger Gifford said there was tremendous scope for the country to follow the lead of the US and Swede, where municipalities have raised billions of pounds for green projects by selling bonds to  the public. ..The city of Gothenburg launched its own green bond for a project and were flooded with calls from local people wanting to get involved,” said Sir Roger, an experienced financier who heads the UK division of Sweden’s SEB Bank, which managed the Gothenburg green bond. “I don’t see why that shouldn’t happen in Leeds, or Bradford, or wherever.” Gothenburg’s two green bonds have helped fund a number of projects across the city including water, biogas, district heating, and electric vehicle infrastructure.

“Sir Roger added: “There is great potential for the UK to follow the Scandinavian or North America models. Mostly obviously for wind, but also for wave, solar and biofuel power – all those forms of renewable energy are perfect for this kind of climate-friendly financing. Waste management, water management, better water grids, better electricity grids, sustainable transport, sustainable housing – all of them are also excellent, as is  air-pollution prevention. His comments came as Swindon became the first council in the UK to issue a solar bond, a renewable energy bond, or a bond of any type to the public for more than a century.”

Interestingly Sir Roger is also chairman of the recently launched Green Finance Initiative, launched on 16 January of this year “which aims to make London the world leader in green finance” – see full City of London press release here.

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‘London faces £500 million shortfall in share of fuel poverty and climate change funds’

20 January 2012: London Councils have responded to the Government’s Green Deal consultation stating that “London needs a fair share of government Green Deal cash to help people afford home improvements such as solid wall insulation. To date less than five per cent of the national pot to help support ‘retro-fitting’ (upgrading the energy-efficiency of existing homes) has been spent in London, despite the capital housing 13 per cent of the population. Funds for carbon saving and affordable warmth schemes available under the government’s new Green Deal should be allocated on a regional basis, says London Councils.”

Councillor Catherine West, chair of London Councils Transport and Environment Committee, said:
“The Green Deal is vital to London, good for the environment and good for people’s pockets. It can help us to tackle the growing problem of fuel poverty in London, but the government’s proposals exclude many of the people that need help most.

“London has a very high proportion of homes that are hard to treat and families living in fuel poverty. To make the Green Deal a success nationally we have to make it work in London, but we can only do that with our fair share of the available money.”

Read the full release here along with London Councils submission to the Green Deal consultation.

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It’s heating or eating in winter for us, pensioners warn Mayor

19 September 2011: The Evening Standard has today highlighted how a group of pensioners – including Islington Pensioners Forum – have submitted a petition to City Hall last week calling on the Mayor to do more to assist vulnerable people across the capital who are unable to pay their bills. In addition, London Councils has set out its concerns that over a quarter of Londoners are struggling to meet their energy bills – with rising prices and welfare reforms threatening to send even more into fuel poverty. To demonstrate how widespread the issue is, London Councils has modelled the impact of fuel poverty on four separate households – a lone parent, a ‘squeezed middle’ couple with two children, a lone pensioner and an extended family. When London’s housing costs are factored in, all but the ‘squeezed middle’ couple live in fuel poverty, spending more than 10 per cent of their income on energy bills (the Government’s definition of those classed as being fuel poor).
The London Councils fuel poverty modelling report and press release can be downloaded here.

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London Councils memorandum on Fuel Poverty

September 2011: London Councils have submitted a memorandum of evidence on fuel poverty to the London Assembly’s Health and Public Services Committee current inquiry on this issue (see item 8 on the agenda).

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London Councils

London Councils’ Climate Change, Energy and Sustainability webpage

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London as a Leader in the Low Carbon Economy

11 December 2009: London Councils and the Government Office for London (GOL) commissioned consultants to look into the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for London in the emerging ‘Low Carbon Economy’ ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. URS Corporation’s report ‘London as a Leader in the Low Carbon Economy’ was intended to support the transition to a ‘low carbon economy’, and to feed into the comprehensive London-wide ‘action plan’ that the LDA commissioned to determine London’s economic opportunities as a ‘Low Carbon Capital’.


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