Councillors Approve Climate Action Plan

Including £5m for projects make the borough more sustainable

Councillors in Wandsworth have approved the borough’s new climate strategy, which will see £5m awarded to projects to make the borough more sustainable. It will be formally submitted to the executive today [January 27] for final approval.

Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Resources, Rory O’Broin, introduced the report, emphasising that it was a “starting point” for the council to evolve and develop its strategy.

Local residents also got involved, sending seven different deputations to speak to the committee, including Wandsworth Greens and Extinction Rebellion Wandsworth.

While most comments were positive, the deputations emphasised the need for the council to be more transparent with its carbon emissions, support home insulation, and to hold developers to account on carbon offsetting.

The strategy proposes the council employs four full-time officers to work on climate change in the borough.

It will also aim to remove all single-use plastic from council premises, review the carbon offset payments paid by developers, and make the case to government for increased powers to issues fines to drivers of idling vehicles to improve air quality.

In July last year the council declared a Climate Emergency and resolved to be carbon neutral as an organisation by 2030, carbon zero by 2050 and the greenest inner-London council by 2030.

However, there was some dispute over the recommendation to purchase “100 per cent green electricity” under an energy management contract.

Cllr Graham said the use of energy broker LASER to purchase borough’s energy using Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin Scheme was not 100 per cent green, and could put the council at risk of “green washing.”

Independent Cllr Malcolm Grimston, who attended the meeting but was not a member of the committee, also disputed that nuclear energy was not green.

There was a cross-party consensus that the motion should say the council will “explore sustainable energy” instead.

Labour Cllr Leonie Cooper also called for more education for councillors on how to discuss climate issues with their residents, and to work closer with the Mayor’s office to take advantage of their research, ideas and grants.

Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter

January 27, 2020