Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Give Brent Council your ideas on how we can combat climate change in the borough

Brent Council is going to set up a Climate Assembly following its declaration of a Climate Emergency. It has launched a website to  collect residents' views on what can be done in the borough.
Comments on link below should be sent in by November 17th. There were only 66 comments at the time of writing.

Extract from the website LINK

How can we work together to limit climate change and its impact while protecting our environment, our health and our wellbeing? Consider the council, businesses and organisations, individuals.

Have a read of how councils, businesses and other organisations, and individuals can help limit climate change and its impact and then let us know what you think at the bottom of this page.

Climate Action at Home:

There are 121,250 homes in Brent, of which 41% are owner occupied, 37% private rented and 22% social rented. These contribute 43% of Brent’s carbon emissions.
72% of these emissions are from gas and 27% is from electricity use.
Carbon emissions from households in Brent fell by 35% between 2005 and 2017.
Save energy by switching off lights and appliances when not in use and reduce, reuse and recycle your waste.
If you are lucky enough to own your own home and want to reduce your carbon emissions, you could:
  • Check your loft and cavity walls are properly insulated
  • Look into installing solar panels
  • Consider replacing gas boilers and hobs with greener alternatives
  • Install a water butt. Use the rain you collect to water your plants, clean your car and wash your windows
Household lifestyle decisions can also make a big difference to carbon emissions. Walking, cycling or using public transport instead of using a car will reduce transport related emissions and improve local air quality. What you eat, buy, wear and the choices you make about flying all have a big impact - more about these in the About the Climate Assembly section.

Solar panel on rooftop

Climate action in my neighbourhood:

In our neighbourhoods other sources of carbon emissions include buildings such as businesses, institutions and schools. These non-domestic buildings in Brent account for 34% of our emissions, 61% of this from electricity use 30% gas, and 9% other fuels.

Carbon emissions from non-domestic buildings in Brent fell by 41% between 2005 and 2017.
The council is currently exploring how it can increase its support for businesses and other institutions to help them reduce their emissions and to help grow the green economy in Brent.
Low energy lighting, insulation for older buildings, renewable energy systems, community energy projects and zero carbon new development can all help reduce carbon emissions at a neighbourhood level.

Road transport accounts for approximately 23% of the carbon emissions in the Borough. Reductions to transport emissions also have a major positive impact on local air quality via non-climate related emissions such as nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. Driving less by walking, cycling and taking public transport more often is the best way to reduce your carbon emissions.

Schoolchildren with staff from Sustrans

Climate Action by the Council:

Our council buildings, street lighting and vehicle fleet contribute just 1% to Brent’s overall emissions. Our Civic Centre is one of the greenest buildings of its type and we have the most energy efficient street lighting in London. We are reviewing our fleet to see how we can lower emissions from our vehicles.

CO2 emissions from the council’s non-housing estate and operations have seen a reduction of 56% from April 2010 to March 19. Our target is to reduce by 60% by 2021 and we are assessing how we can achieve net zero carbon by 2030.

Read more about green initiatives by Brent Council in the second half of the About the Climate Assembly section.

Brent Civic Centre

FoE are doing surveys of LAs and the key issues that they have identified for Brent are:

1. Tree cover. As a built up area we have challenges with this. At the moment we have 3% tree cover. The best result for a comparable area is 13%. In Greater Manchester they are doing a survey of all existing trees and identifying every potential site for planting more. Worth looking into what they are doing and seeing if we can do the same.

2. Transport. Planning with TFL for integrated public transport beyond the tubes. How do we reduce car use and the space taken up by cars? This is often a precondition for increased cycle use. Can we try out "mini Holland" schemes like those in Walthamstow - which have reduced car use in residential areas and not had a displacement effect onto main roads. Can we roll out School Streets more broadly? Currently 68% of commuter journeys are by public transport. can we get that up to 80% by 2030?

3. Housing. At the moment 41% of Brent homes are well insulated. The private rented sector is likely to be the main problem here and this will require national legislation for minimum standards - which will require a change of government. Can the council work with the GLA to retrofit existing social housing and build new council housing to passivhaus standards on the model of the RIBA award winning Goldsmith St development in Norwich? Fitting solar panels and heat pumps at the same time would help generate more renewable energy - and - because they are right there - cut out the waste involved in transmission through the grid. If there is a change of government this will be financed through the Green Industrial Revolution programme. 

4. Renewable energy. Brent currently has 3 megawatts of renewable energy available. The best similar local council areas have 28 megawatts. What are they doing and how could we do it? Can we make sure that all public buildings are insulated and fitted with renewable energy? Schools could be particularly important here as an exemplar.

5. Waste. 37% of household waste in Brent is reused, recycled or composted. Litter is one of the most visible expressions of a wasteful society with no collective self respect. The key thing here is to reduce the materials at source - so there's less of it to start with. 

6. Education. We need a review of the national curriculum to make it fit for purpose in retooling society to combat climate change. That requires a change of government and/or a massive campaign to that effect. The LA can help by organising cross borough insets on different aspects of sustainability education that can be built into the limited curriculum we have now. A review of apprenticeships available in the borough, so there are more on the skills we need to make the transition.

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