Enfield adopts roadmap to carbon neutrality

An ambitious new plan setting out how Enfield Council will become carbon neutral by 2030 has been adopted.

The Council’s cabinet agreed to adopt the Enfield Climate Action Plan 2020 at its meeting last night (15 July). The plan sets out the actions the Council will take to become carbon neutral by 2030 and how the borough can achieve the same milestone by 2040.

The Council will aim to achieve its targets by reducing emissions from council buildings, street lights, transport, and homes and commercial buildings across the borough.

The small portion of emissions that cannot be avoided or reduced will be offset, within the borough’s boundaries, through investment in green infrastructure, solar power and wind energy projects – where viable.

This green infrastructure investment includes plans to plant 100,000 trees as part of a new Enfield Chase woodland creation project, by March 2022.

Enfield Council’s Deputy Leader and the Chair of the Climate Change Task force, Cllr Ian Barnes, said: "Climate change is an existential threat to our way of life and the dangers it poses are evolving and accelerating.

"Our action plan is ambitious and innovative and will enable us to play our full role in meeting national and global targets for reducing carbon emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change.

"Enfield already leads the way in some areas, for example our work to install ground source heat pumps in council housing tower blocks and best practice installation of sustainable urban drainage. We have committed to deliver further changes in the coming years, including switching to LED lighting, electrifying our fleet and reforestation in northern Enfield. A large proportion of our emissions is from our roads and we now have an ambitious Low Traffic Neighbourhood and School Streets programme.

"This is a far-reaching plan, which we will be delivering at a very challenging time for local government, so we will be monitoring progress including through an annual report and making sure the plan continues to be fit for purpose with a review every two years.

"We definitely cannot achieve these actions alone and, after a decade of cuts from Government and increasing pressure on services, we will need our partners to support us. After the recent critical report from the Committee for Climate Change the Government must now get serious about climate change and offer financial support to local authorities.

"While we face many challenges in the months and years ahead, climate action must remain a top priority for Enfield. There is much we can learn from the Covid-19 crisis. We have learned that behaviour change and a consequent fall in emissions is possible and that we must continue to influence and support local people and our staff to continue with those positive changes.

"However, behaviour changes can only go part way to achieving the drop in emissions that is needed and local government has a vital role to play in helping to make the structural changes that are absolutely necessary, provided we can get the funding and the policy change required from national government to help us to do that. This is why our plan includes the action we need to take to influence government, and draw in additional funding, to deliver on our ambitions.

"We will also work with residents, schools, businesses and other parts of government to learn from them, to support them and to influence them. With this in mind we are looking to arrange events for later this summer to discuss the plan and develop further our we will implement it together."

In order to meet its targets, the Council estimates recycling rates will need to increase to 49 per cent, and just over half (55 per cent) of journeys will need to be made by sustainable needs by 2022.

Business, residential and transport carbon emissions would need to drop by 21, 23 and 35 per cent by 2025 and 60 per cent of the Council fleet would need to be electrified by 2026.

To meet the borough wide carbon neutral target by 2040, there will need to be big increases in the use of solar across the borough and reductions of carbon emissions across the business, transport and residential sectors of at least half. The decision is subject to call in.

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