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 develop a Climate Action Plan which was approved by Council on 18 November 2020.
As Merton Council only have direct control over 2% of carbon emissions in the Borough they have established a Climate Action Group to develop community-led projects which reduce the Borough’s greenhouse gas emissions. This was launched by Zoom on 27 January 2021.
The Climate Action Group, which is very dependent on the work of volunteers, is divided into the following sub-groups:
- Green Economy
- Greening Merton
- Buildings and Energy
- In addition a group dealing with Engagement and Funding overarches the 4 sub groups .
Members of the Wimbledon Society’s Planning & Environment Committee (PEC) have been involved from the start of the Climate Emergency initiative in helping develop Merton’s response. One or more PEC members aims to attend each sub-group meeting.
As commercial and residential buildings account for 81% of emissions in Merton, the work of the PEC in this area assumes considerable importance. The focus will initially be on the retrofit of existing (mainly residential) buildings; a huge undertaking since only ¼ of properties In Merton are EPC rated A-C. All new buildings must be carbon-neutral from now on.
For more information on the Merton Garden Streets initiative which is one of the Greening Merton Sub-group’s initiatives, see our news article here.
To help deliver the Climate Action Plan, Merton Council are encouraging everyone in the Borough to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint in their daily lives and to make a pledge to do so. Each month focusses on a different theme and the website provides details of the theme for each month as well as information and support for making changes.
More information and contact details for anyone wanting to get involved in any of these initiatives are on the Climate Emergency page of Merton’s website https://www.merton.gov.uk/planning-and-buildings/sustainability-and-climate-change