In 2019, Lambeth Council was the first London borough to declare a climate emergency. This step was taken in response to the alarming and widespread impacts of global warming we are seeing across the world. As part of this declaration, the council committed to reducing carbon emissions in Lambeth and adapting to the changes we will inevitably see at a local level.
Recognising the role of the council in this process, as a large organisation and as a leader in the borough, we have set a target of reaching net-zero emissions from council operations by 2030. Prior to this, we had made significant progress in reducing carbon emissions by reducing energy use, improving the energy efficiency of our buildings, and reducing vehicle use, among other measures. However, to achieve our 2030 target we will have to take bolder steps.
We published our Corporate Carbon Reduction Plan to outline the steps the council will take to reduce our carbon footprint, and how we intend to measure our progress. The actions in our plan set out initial opportunities we have identified to reduce carbon emissions relating to the council’s operations, but this is only a starting point. The council will engage staff, contractors and stakeholders to expand the plan and the range of actions that help us to meet our target. Upcoming reviews of the Plan will ensure it remains relevant and ambitious.
In 2020, we published our 2018-19 carbon emissions baseline from which we will annually measure our progress out to 2030. It demonstrated that nearly 99% of our emissions as a council are from our building stock. While this does not cover the borough as a whole, we also know that nearly 70% of borough-wide emissions are from buildings, with 28% from transport.
The council, partners, residents and businesses will need to work together to achieve the broader goal of decreasing overall CO2 emissions. Lambeth Council hosted a virtual Citizen’s Assembly from 25 May to 3 July to engage stakeholders to agree on appropriate targets and how we will reach this ambition. We are now in the process of developing a borough-wide carbon reduction plan from the assembly recommendations. We will share the findings from this stakeholder engagement process later in 2021.
The council is already looking at how it can use its powers to help Lambeth transition to a low carbon future. Our new transport strategy sets out how we will improve public transport, introduce liveable neighbourhoods to improve walking and cycling and local environmental quality and roll out electric vehicle infrastructure. Our revised Local Plan will introduce higher environmental standards for new developments; will increase the quantum of zero-carbon development in the borough, and will drive significant improvements in air quality. In addition, the Local Plan will increase moves to sustainable transport modes through appropriate parking standards in new developments, with zero parking wherever possible.
Climate action is a driver of positive change in all walks of life for all our residents – cleaner air, greener and safer public spaces and more comfortable homes, to name just a few. Lambeth Council is committed to driving forward this transition in partnership with residents, businesses and partners over the next ten years and beyond.