Council climate action and emissions summary 2022-23

Theme 5: Sustainable Council

The Sustainable Council theme covers the key actions to be taken within the operation of the council to ensure that climate is considered across all activities and that progress is made towards the 2030 target of reducing emissions from the council’s core operations. In the first year, supported by a new Climate Action Team that was recruited by September 2022, the council has been taking action, building skills and understanding its impacts and emissions in more detail. 

One of the first steps has been ensuring that all staff are equipped with the knowledge of the severity of climate change, an understanding of what a council can be delivering to reduce its impact, and the tools they need to prepare for the impacts of climate change. Over 90 officers have undertaken an accredited course of Carbon Literacy training to give them this knowledge. This includes both senior managers across the organisation and officers that are working in the most relevant areas, such as Commissioning, Finance, Planning and Highways.

The council has been considering the environmental impact of its estate and how it uses its space for work, with a view to reduce our needs and impact. It has been working to better understand the emissions from its estate and operations. In particular, it is taking a much closer look at emissions from its buildings and delivering a Greater London Authority scheme to develop a roadmap for energy efficiency and renewable energy generation across the corporate estate. These include its care homes, leisure centres and offices, which are its biggest emitters. 

The council has also been reviewing options for increasing the proportion of renewable energy that it buys in a way that guarantees an increase in renewable supply to the national grid and the soon-to-arrive electric fleet of waste collection lorries. 

39% of the council’s electricity energy usage is related to street lighting, and work has started to convert this with modern LED technology that will use half the electricity than the lights they are replacing, reducing the associated carbon emissions and being cheaper to run for the council. Roughly 6600 bulbs have been installed so far. 

The way in which the council buys goods and services has been reviewed to ensure that more detailed consideration is given to environmental factors. This includes looking for social value in major contracts and providing the officers making purchasing decisions the knowledge and skills to make them effectively.

The council has also been reviewing its fleet to understand the impacts of ULEZ and how we can transition to electric vehicles. It currently has 15 electric vehicles that are used by a variety of council teams including Estates Services and the Community Library. Six new electric vans are also being used by the council’s parks contractor, Glendale. Work is underway at the Villiers Road Household Reuse and Recycle Centre to prepare for the arrival of the borough’s electric waste fleet. The cleaner, greener and quieter electric vehicles will remove 554 tonnes of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to taking 270 cars off the road.

The council is also working to mitigate the impacts from climate change, including for instance the increased risk of flooding. Government predictions are that the peak rainfall of extreme storms will increase by up to 40% in London by 2050. The council is working on designs for three flood alleviation schemes within the borough, targeting critical drainage areas to store flood water and release it slowly. The council requires new developments to be designed to remain safe during extreme storms including a 40% allowance for climate change, and new developments to not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere.

Last Modified: 19/09/2023 10:53:36