Hackney Council pledges £25m to tackle climate emergency
One year on from its motion declaring a climate emergency, Hackney Council is dedicating £25m towards the fight against climate change.
The funding, which is being spent across Council departments, is aimed at ensuring its ambitious commitments to net zero emissions across all functions by 2040 and a 45% reduction on 2010 levels by 2030 are embedded throughout the borough and in the day-to-day running of Council services.
Achievements in the first year since the motion include:
- Switching to 100% renewable electricity in all Council buildings
- Launching its publicly owned energy company to help deliver decarbonisation targets
- Starting its project to replace all 7000 street lights with LEDs
- Securing funding over 12 months to improve F&G rated homes (the lowest grade of energy efficiency)
- Launching its £1m Green Homes programme, offering insulation measures to all privately owned or rented homes
- Planting over 6,000 trees in Hackney Marshes and launching a programme to plant 5,000 street trees
- Lobbying activity against airport expansion at City and Heathrow and in support of a ‘producer pays’ tax on packaging manufacturers.
The funding could also see the Council’s vehicle fleet become fossil free by 2021 - with the entire fleet made up of either electric vehicles or those running on hydrotreated vegetable oil.
Since January 2019, the Council has also established an Energy Sustainability Board to help embed its climate emergency commitments across all services.
The board has commissioned a number of studies to form an evidence-base for further action, including an Energy Strategy to determine the Council’s pathway to net zero by 2040 and help develop performance measures to ensure its progress can be monitored robustly.
The Council is committed to engaging with local people on its climate emergency plans, and will develop a Climate Emergency Action Plan for public consultation in 2021.
In the interim, it intends to hold a stakeholder engagement event at around the same time as Hackney Sustainability Day in November 2020, however the format of this is subject to change given the coronavirus pandemic.
A comprehensive update was presented to Full Council on Wednesday 22 July. Full details can be found on the Council’s website.
While the coronavirus pandemic has been a tragedy, and presents major financial challenges for the Council, we must not lose sight of the threat of rapid global warming, which, if left unchecked, will destabilise the world as we know it.
But, a different kind of future is possible for ourselves and our children. Hackney Council has spent the last 12 months not only demonstrating that such an alternative future is desirable but that, with sufficient political leadership and drive, rapid decarbonisation of the energy and transport systems, as well as housing the public realm, is possible. We intend to continue where we have left off and look forward to updating on even greater progress in 2021.