Lewisham Council approves its climate action plan

Wide shot of Lewisham Pic: Wikimedia Commons

Extinction Rebellion activists in Lewisham said they were “relieved and encouraged” yesterday after the council finally passed its climate action plan, a year after declaring a climate emergency. 

Councillors passed a climate action plan and a plan to supply the council with 100 percent renewable energy at a meeting last night. 

According to their plans, a minimum of £1.6bn will be needed in order to fully make the borough carbon neutral by 2030. 

A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion’s Lewisham group said: “It will require the whole community to come together in order to achieve this. We look forward to playing a comprehensive role, helping the council in this essential and urgent responsibility.” 

The council itself is responsible for three percent of the emissions within the borough. This three percent includes energy used in council buildings like offices as well as schools, libraries and leisure centres. 

Councillor Sophie McGeevor, Lewisham Council’s Cabinet Minister for Environment said: “We are incredibly proud that Lewisham is one of the lead councils in tackling the climate emergency. This action plan seeks the path for the borough to be carbon neutral by 2030, but it’s only working together with the community that we will leave a greener, better Lewisham for future generations.”

The area that produces the most carbon is housing with over 51.1 percent of carbon in the borough being split equally across three sectors. These are owner-occupier, social housing and privately rented. 

In an effort to reduce this carbon, the council are focused on building affordable housing with low running costs. They will also raise standards in existing communal heating systems, select lower-carbon materials, reuse structures and construction materials if possible and improve cladding. 

They will also encourage vegan catering, finding supplies locally as well as supporting low income and vulnerable residents in accessing funding for heating, insulation and ventilation.

A spokeswoman for the campaign group Climate Action Lewisham said: “We recognise that engaging the public in a diverse and complex a borough as Lewisham is not easy, but it’s essential to deliver the plan effectively. We actively support Lewisham’s ambition to lead carbon reduction behaviour among the public of Lewisham and be an example to other boroughs.”

The rest of the carbon in the borough is split between transport and industry and commerce.

Transport emissions include vehicles which travel in or throughout the borough.

The council is hoping to minimise the need for cars and other vehicles by implementing a Healthy Neighbourhoods programme. This programme is supposed to reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and encourage more sustainable modes of transport. 

Traffic calming measures will also be introduced to support the 20 mph speed limit that has been implemented across the borough. 

There is also the opportunity to partake in cycle training for adults and children, this is in the hope that more people will start cycling. This is being supported by the introduction of more cycleways, cycle hangars and cycle parking. 

The London Mayor’s Transport Strategy (MTS) set a target for 80 percent of journeys in London to be made by walking, cycling and public transport by 2041.

Rail links are also expected to be improved. There will be increased rail access, improved rail connectivity and the quality of stations overall will be upgraded. All stations in the borough will be getting step-free access. 

The action plan is set out in five stages; leading by example, sustainable housing, decarbonised transport, greener, adaptive Lewisham and inspiring, learning and lobbying and can be found here.

Previously the council has made changes such as increasing of parking permits and fines for idling engines to try and make the borough cleaner.

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