Sunday 19 June 2022

Progress and set-backs in Brent's Climate Strategy on the Cabinet Agenda tomorrow

 Tomorrow's Cabinet will be discussing progress and plans for Brent's Climate Strategy. It is a mixed bag with progress in some areas, with many small projects that contribute to change, but some major areas at a near standstill.


As a former 'daily cyclist' I was disappointed by the lack of any plans for an improvement in the borough's cycling infrastructure. There is a promise of more cycle hangars and projects for cargo bike deliveries for town centres and pilot projects for Neighbourhood Sustainability Schemes.  However that does not answer the need for joined up safe cycle routes for commuting and leisure needed across the borough to encourage more cars off the road and reduce pollution. In particular the north-south barrier of the North Circular Road remains to be tackled.


The report notes:


The council’s delivery of Healthy Neighbourhood schemes in the borough encountered public opposition, which was reported to the council’s Cabinet in January 2022. As a result, one Healthy Neighbourhood in the Stonebridge/Harlesden area has been implemented.


The remaining four schemes which were being trialled at Olive Road, Dollis Hill, Preston Road and Tokyngton and Wembley area schemes have been removed. It is acknowledged that collaborative design with the community would help to engender public support for future measures, and these will need to be effective in preventing through traffic and trialled for a longer period, potentially 12 months.


This action is therefore being rolled over into the 2022-24 delivery plan, with officers preparing a report for consideration by the Council’s Cabinet on the future approach to developing and delivering Healthy Neighbourhood schemes.


The development and implementation of future schemes will depend on future funding being made available for that purpose


School Streets have been relatively successful and there are plans for three 'place led' sustainability pilot projects. Two are 'Neighbourhood led' and one 'Development led':


Perhaps the most innovative and efficient way of demonstrating greater focus,pace, visibility and impact on the climate and ecological emergency agenda is through the designation and implementation of a new place-based approach.

This would be delivered through piloting ‘Sustainable Neighbourhoods’ in a number of areas within the borough in which the council would seek to target a dedicated proportion of its sustainability investment and activity.

Part of the rationale for this is to forge a strong partnership with local communities within these localities, demonstrating how tackling the climate and ecological emergency relates to local areas in Brent and showcasing the holistic benefits it can bring. Another benefit of this approach is that it would provide the opportunity to learn lessons for delivery in order to replicate the actions undertaken in these pilots in other areas of the borough beyond 2023.


There are two key differential elements within Brent’s approach to selecting suitable locations. The first is that we propose to undertake two ‘Neighbourhood-led’ pilots, that would be delivered and completed by the end of 2023, and the second is to undertake one ‘Development-led’ pilot, that would be longer-term and focused around the new development pipeline, aiming to complete by the end of 2025/26.


 Selecting 'Neighbourhood led' Pilot


Considering the north of the borough, an area around Kingsbury/Roe Green is considered to be a highly suitable area to undertake a neighbourhood- led pilot. The area selected would encompass parts of Queensbury and Kingsbury wards.

When considering the south of the borough, a locality in and around Church End/ Roundwood is a strong candidate for a neighbourhood-led pilot. The area selected would encompass parts of the Roundwood and Harlesden & Kensal Green wards.


Selecting a ‘Development-led’ Pilot

The process of selecting a ‘development-led’ pilot area was more dependent on the milestones within the development pipeline and in particular, the timing of the design stages and opportunities to integrate new sustainability considerations. The best opportunities to embed environmental sustainability and potential for net zero new builds is felt to be through incorporating these objectives into the New Council Homes Programme, in particular those schemes which are currently being considered for feasibility.


Following review of eight schemes within the council’s New Council Homes development pipeline, South Kilburn was identified as the most suitable area for undertaking a development-led pilot. It is also proposed that an increased emphasis on sustainability is placed on the regeneration plans for St Raphael’s Estate.

I found it difficult to pinpoint exactly what was involved in these pilots and hope that more detail will emerge later.


An area where there has been a great focus nationally is the retrofitting of existing properties to make them energy efficient, particularly in the face of the cost of energy crisis. It is an enormous task needing national funding and so local efforts appear quite insignificant and somewhat vague in terms of timelines:


The first year of the tower block works programme was due to see work begin on three tower blocks – Kilburn Square, Manor Court and Lodge Court. Unfortunately there has been limited progress on this action in 2021-22 due to a delay in the procurement of the supply chain due to construction market conditions; and due to the need for a more extensive consultation with tenants and leaseholders. This action will therefore be rolled over as a specific action into the new 2022-24 delivery plan.


The assessment of the council’s own housing stock has completed and will provide a valuable basis for both the development of a comprehensive energy efficiency strategy for our own stock, and strengthen the evidence base for the council to submit bids for external funding to undertake retrofitting work.


We have undertaken three pioneering retrofit pilots on void street properties within our own stock. The properties were fitted with thermal efficient internal and external insulation, energy efficient windows, energy saving heating and power source with photovoltaic panels on the roof. Smart House Measures will also be included to ensure monitoring of energy efficiency after the tenant has moved in. We will apply the learning of the retrofit work undertaken on these building archetypes to similar sites across our stock wherever possible.
When the regeneration of the Wembley Stadium  area began more than a decade ago Brent Green Party advocated the setting up of a Green Enterprise zone where small innovative green business start-ups would be encouraged by initial business rate concessions and links made with the College of North West London in providing apprenticeships and training in green technologies, retrofitting etc.  LINK Criticism was made of over-reliance on retail in the area to provide jobs.
Brent Council in a welcome initiative is now engaged in something along those lines in terms of the education aspect but it would make sense to link this with SME business support:

Over the course of this year we have established a strong partnership with United Colleges to deliver a new Green Skills Centre at the Willesden Campus of College of North West London. Scheduled to open in summer 2022, the hub will offer a range of green skills courses for students in the local area and from across the city. The courses available at the new hub will focus on the green agenda and a wide range of construction and engineering subjects. Students will be able to learn about air source heat pumps, electrical vehicle charging, internal and external wall insulation, and a variety of other sustainable technologies. The exciting and forward-thinking new hub will enable educators, employers, and other organisations to work in partnership to develop a programme that promotes employability, learning, and skills.


It is hard to do justice to all the documentation in a short blog post so do check out the Delivery Plan and the  Progress Report.



Additional documents:









1 comment:

David Walton said...

South Kilburn Estate regeneration began (at the time 6000 population) in 2001; with a resident-led (estate elected resident majority) Board delivering a fully viability tested final masterplan plan/ architectural model (for estate vote) in partnership produced 2004. Then once 'on site' South Kilburn rapidly became Brent Master Developer owned/ several revokes as the 2004 final plan/model was massively grown and terminated by developer wants instead. Now in 2022 South Kilburn is to officially be a developer-led pilot, this with Brent sending me a plan which shows South Kilburn Estates remains as become Brent highways land? Is St Raphael's developer-led pilot also founded on its becoming Brent highways land weakest protection of community life, environment, health and wellbeing possible?

The South Kilburn Environment map here usefully illustrates some of the historic flooding in South Kilburn 'low spot', Carlton Vale a word clue to this areas topography, a bowl largely surrounded by higher ground, in Maida Vale Study Area London Flooding Review stage 3.

South Kilburn has intensive surveillance long in place throughout its modern social estate lived in as ruins, so the fly tipping plague as mapped, is an un care easy to resolve. It must be developer-led required to degrade, sanction and harass estate residents?

Some Brent protected neighbourhood zones are listed for definite projects- rain gardens, woodland investments so the climate and ecological emergency is serious at least in some zones of Brent. Contrast that with, the environmental and ecological destruction (new Brent Local Plan) of still existing for 70 years woodlands and rain gardens in South Kilburn by 'housing the only infrastructure' developer-led pilot Growth Area Tall Building Car-Free Zone ongoing to 2041. The South Kilburn Environment map here simply shows some of the modern design social housing estates social and parks/ flood defence infrastructure yet to be developer monetised.