Net Zero : What your council is doing and what YOU can do to help

Good Shepherd School pupils gardening with Councillor Patrick Codd in Durham Hill Park for a greener Lewisham. Pic: Lewisham Council.

The four EastLondonLines’ boroughs of Lewisham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Croydon are going ahead with their Net Zero plans despite some national opposition to taking drastic climate actions.

After collectively declaring a ‘climate emergency’, they’ve set plans and ambitions to tackle their carbon footprints and reach carbon neutrality within the following decades.

This comes amid the growing apprehension within the Tory backbenchers over PM Boris Johnson’s Net Zero policy to decarbonise the country.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is launching a Brexit-style referendum to abandon the green flagship policy and Net Zero plans.

Farage announced the campaign ‘Britain Means Business’, which quickly changed to ‘Power not Poverty’, on a Mail on Sunday column. He described what he called “Net Zero delusion” as “a scandal of epic proportions” that must be challenged.

Concerns over Net Zero plans were already bubbling amongst Tory backbenchers since last summer when Tory MP Craig Mackinlay founded the Net Zero Scrutiny Group (NZSG). Although accepting the fundamentals of climate emergency, the group of 20 odd MPs and peers believes that the government’s Net Zero plans are “too bold” and “dreamed out by out of touch elites”.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak, seemingly on board with the PM’s plans, has also expressed his concerns about the burden Net Zero plans could put on the already strained economy.

However, our EastLondonLine boroughs are fighting back and are full steam ahead with their plans.

So, what is your council doing to help Net Zero?

Lewisham Council has set up a Climate Emergency Action plan outlining their ambition to make the borough carbon neutral by 2030. 

The council recognise the wide range of positive benefits a carbon-neutral borough would bring to residents and communities, including new skills and jobs, improved health and quality of life and support for wider environmental and social outcomes.

“Society faces a climate and ecological crisis that is the legacy of a generation of inaction. We have an obligation to future generations.”

Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham

The strategy will focus on the council leading by example in their carbon-neutral practices as well as building sustainable housing, switching to decarbonised transport and aiming to have an inspiring and greener borough.

More on Lewisham’s Climate Emergency Action Plan.

Sign up to Lewisham’s climate emergency mailing list

Hackney Council set up an eight-month action plan to tackle the climate emergency and engage with local people in the last quarter of 2021.

The plan includes tendering for electric vehicle charging points, hosting a green recovery event to kick start longer-term engagement with residents and businesses and planting 2,500 street trees in the borough by the end of this year.

“Responding to the climate crisis is the challenge of our times. If we don’t respond now, we risk our city changing forever.”

Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney

After switching to a 100% renewable electricity supply for the council and launching London’s first borough-wide thermal efficiency programme, Hackney is off to a great start on its plans to reach a carbon-neutral borough by 2040.

More on Hackney’s Road map to Net Zero.

More on the council’s emission assessment to help prioritise action to reach Net Zero goals.

Tower Hamlets has committed to becoming a net zero carbon council within the next three years and a net zero carbon borough by 2045. They are working with a climate alliance of local housing, education, health, community, voluntary, and business organisations.

“The climate emergency is one of the world’s most pressing issues impacting our lives, and in Tower Hamlets, we are working to ensure we are as sustainable as possible.”

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets

Their Net Zero Carbon Plan will focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and offset remaining emissions, finding ways to lower energy consumption, creating sustainable supply chains and nurturing biodiversity through planting trees and greening the borough.

More on Tower Hamlet’s Net Zero Carbon Plan

Croydon has set a long-term target for the borough to reach a 34% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025 through several action plans. These will conduct work against climate change risks across all sectors within the borough, including residential buildings, transport, waste and carbon reduction in the commercial and business sectors.

Unfortunately, Croydon’s emissions are above the median for London boroughs, with many residents in the borough are employed in carbon-intensive industries like freight transport and civil engineering.

“The science is clear – without significant intervention to reach net zero emissions, we will see deeply harmful impacts on human wellbeing and the natural world.”

Councillor Muhammad Ali, Cabinet member for Croydon

More on Croydon’s Climate change adaptation action plans

What can YOU to help?

Here are some points to help you reduce your carbon footprint and go Net Zero!

Infographic by Suzanne Karandagoda Mudalige

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