In July 2019, Merton Council declared a Climate Emergency and set an ambitious target to make the Borough carbon neutral by 2050 and to decarbonise their own buildings and services by 2030.

They subsequently established a Climate Emergency Working Group to help develop a Climate Action Plan and we have been working with the council officers leading it. However, since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, no further progress seems to have been made.

With the major changes in people’s behaviour during the present Covid-19 emergency, there could be lessons of great relevance in transport, home working and dwelling design, air quality, outdoor space and telecommunications.

With much greater home working, there may be reduced need for conventional office spaces. This could influence the amount of office space that gets planning approval. Also, where office workers do have to physically go to an office, they will have to sit further apart. Designs for office space will need to take account of new working practices.

Accordingly, we have written to the Councillor in overall charge of environmental matters to ensure that the momentum is maintained.