Enfield Council’s Cabinet has tonight (Monday 8 July) declared a state of climate emergency and committed to making the authority carbon neutral by 2030 or sooner.
Politicians also agreed to the establishment of a Climate Emergency Task force made up of officers and elected members. The task force will see how to further cut greenhouse gas emissions in Council operations and its supply chain and reduce its Pension Fund investments in fossil fuel companies.
The borough has already reduced its energy use and Greenhouse Gas emission through its Sustainable Enfield Strategy and reduced its carbon footprint by 45 per cent between 2008 and 2017. A new target has now been set to reduce carbon emissions by a further 60 per cent by 2025.
The Cabinet also signed a climate emergency declaration and pledge on Monday night.
Enfield Council’s Leader, Cllr Nesil Caliskan, said: “We are utterly committed to tackling the issues around climate change and the environment. The excellent campaigns led by organisations like Extinction Rebellion has brought attended to the desperate need for us all to redouble our efforts and make Enfield genuinely carbon neutral as soon as we possibly can.
“There is absolutely no doubt that climate change is one of the existential threats to life on earth and everyone needs to work collaboratively to find solutions that work.
“Our new taskforce will start to work with colleagues and partner in the coming weeks and months to formulate plans which will have a significant impact on reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality in the borough, and improve the quality of life of our residents in the process.
“The Council is working to update the Sustainable Enfield Plan by 2020 and Cabinet will recommend to the Pension Policy & investment Committee that it should actively reduce its holdings in fossil fuel companies.”
Enfield Council has made good progress the last few years, being awarded Council of the Year in the Greater London Energy Efficiency Awards.
In its submission, the Sustainability team at Enfield Council highlighted the work that has been conducted over the last five years to develop a fuel poverty strategy through a variety of projects.
While traditional affordable warmth schemes – such as boiler replacements, cavity and roof insulation and behaviour change advice – have been important in helping address the poverty imbalance, Enfield Council has sharpened its focus to include renewable heating which has a positive impact on both the environment and wellbeing of residents.
The Council has installed ground source heat pumps in eight tower blocks featuring 400 ground source heat pumps with contractors Kensa Contracting.
Now, every tenant in these flats has their own heating and hot water controls, and they only pay for the heat they actually use via their electricity bills.
As the heat pumps are incredibly efficient, the heating and hot water costs for each tenant are now around £350-£400 per year (down from around £1,100 per year) representing a massive saving and making a significant difference to tenants’ finances.
The Council is also actively investing money to improve the energy performance of its buildings. Around £2.7 million has been invested in eleven schools and three corporate buildings to improve energy efficiency to generates more than £400,000 in annual energy bill savings. For example, 150Kw of solar panels have been installed on the Civic Centre, providing renewable energy to the building.
To become net carbon neutral by 2030, Enfield Council estimates it will need to reduce or offset 30,000 tonnes of carbon a year.
More than 100 council’s in the UK have declared a “Climate Emergency” so far, including London 12 other boroughs – Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney, Waltham Forest, Southwark, Redbridge, Lewisham, Lambeth, Ealing, Islington, Hounslow, Haringey and Greenwich.
Cabinet’s decision is subject to call in.
Following the Cabinet meeting this evening Cabinet members signed a declaration declaring climate emergency in Enfield. As this is a Cabinet decision that is subject to call-in in the usual way, no steps will be taken to implement the decision until after the period for any call-in has passed.
Statement from Cllr Nesil Caliskan Leader of Enfield Council on Climate Emergency
“As the Leader of Enfield Council and with the full support of the Cabinet, I am today declaring a ‘climate emergency’ on behalf of the local authority.
“The ‘climate emergency’ requires urgent action by everyone. Enfield Council is taking the lead for our borough and we have committed to making the Council carbon neutral by 2030.
“We can, we should, and we will ensure that all our strategic, budgetary and policy decisions support this objective.
“It would be morally wrong of us, knowing the impact of climate change on our planet to invest in companies that do not contribute to a de-carbonised society. That is why the Council should divest to eliminate our holdings in fossil fuel companies.
“The Council will also establish a Climate Emergency Task Force to determine how to achieve our target to make the Council carbon neutral by 2030 as well as explore what more can be done to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the Council’s operations and supply chain. We will also update our sustainability plan by 2020.
“The scientific evidence on climate change is incontrovertible, despite what climate change deniers might argue. All the data collected from scientists across the globe shows humanity is making the earth warmer, endangering our very existence on the planet in the process.
“This cannot be allowed to pass unchallenged.
“The Council also has a role to play in making sure our residents know the truth about the risks of climate change. The real facts about climate change and how it is likely to affect Enfield residents and business should be publicised.
“As a Council we will work with our schools to get our young people more involved in making the decisions that will affect their lives in the future and ensure they help us make Enfield as green and sustainable a place as possible.
“Each and every person in Enfield has a part to play in stopping and reversing the effects of climate change. Every small step has a value, whether it is planting trees, making sure household electrical items are properly switched off when not in use, recycling and composting or using public transport and car-pooling.
“If we can all change our mindsets and act a little differently, then collectively we can achieve great things. But the reality of the ‘climate emergency’ we face means that commitment needs to translate into action.
“I am struck by the tenacity and commitment of the recent Extinction Rebellion protests in London and activities in our own borough in Enfield. People from all walks of life coming together and bringing attention to the unfolding disaster of climate change that we are all involved in and the terrible consequences we will inherit as a result.
“It is right that they demand action from the government, councils, businesses and individuals.
“Such campaigns are as important as any in the history of our time on Earth. We must not ignore the evidence, we must not ignore the pleas of those who ask us to change tack.
“We owe to generations yet to come to make sure that the madness in carrying on engaging in activities that are destroying our planet is brought to a halt.
“That is why Enfield Council is declaring this ‘Climate Emergency’ and that is why the local authority will bring all its influence to bear to ensure that Enfield plays its full part in stopping climate change and putting an end to the destruction of our planet.”