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Council agrees climate action plan to slash borough’s emissions

The council hopes Waltham Forest will be seen as the UK’s leading borough for “collective climate action”
By Josh Mellor, Local Democracy Reporter

Schoolchildren joining a climate strike outside Waltham Forest Town Hall in 2019, the year the council first declared a climate emergency (credit James Cracknell)
Schoolchildren joining a climate strike outside Waltham Forest Town Hall in 2019, the year the council first declared a climate emergency (credit James Cracknell)

Waltham Forest Council has green-lit a climate change action plan that aims to cut the borough’s emissions to “net zero”.

Three years after the council first declared a climate emergency, it has approved a plan that aims to halve the estimated 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide produced each year by 2030.

Through the plan, the council hopes to be seen as the UK’s leading borough for “collective climate action” by leading residents and businesses in reducing emissions.

Clyde Loakes, cabinet member for climate and air quality, said finalising the plan had been a “challenge”, partly due to the pandemic, but that the borough “needs to act quickly”.

He added: “We cannot be the sole responsible or single organisation to resolve the challenges that are contributing to global action of the climate emergency.

“We will give employers the tools to tackle the crisis together and will lead issues in that space.”

Cllr Loakes added that the council would establish a “residents panel to create accountability” with “people who aren’t necessarily totally convinced, people who do have some cynicism”.

A key part of the plan is to reduce emissions from buildings, which make up 42% of the borough’s estimated 700 kilotonnes of carbon each year.


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To do this the council will create a “retrofit company” and launch “zero- or low-interest” loans to fund energy-efficiency improvements to privately-owned homes.

Alongside this, the council has committed to bringing all the homes it manages up to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) B – the second-highest rating possible – by 2030.

The second key element is to create “a place for people, not cars”, with the target of residents making 80% of their journeys by walking, cycling or public transport.

To help reach this target it will attempt to create “15-minute neighbourhoods” that require less travel, expand the number of cycle hangars, and pedestrianise town centres on Sundays.

The plan also pledges to turn nine council-owned car parks into parks or affordable housing.

To reduce waste in the borough the council will “develop a new collection strategy” and promote reuse instead of throwing away by setting up “repair cafes” and libraries of things in every neighbourhood.

The final part of the plan is to make the borough “one of the greenest boroughs in London” through planning conditions and more tree-planting schemes.

Funding for the plan is £1.1million a year, split between staffing and investment, as well as £3m from the council’s climate emergency fund that has not been spent yet.

The report concludes: “We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last who can do something about it.”

A draft version of the climate action plan, prepared by consultancy firm Arup, is available to view online:

Visit https://democracy.walthamforest.gov.uk/documents/s86651/Appendix%202%20-%20Climate%20Action%20Plan%20CAP.pdf


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