Hackney Council pledges to reach net zero emissions by 2040

Mayor Glanville and Cllr Burke announce half of Hackney electricity to come from renewable energy from 1 April 2019

Hackney councillors have approved a motion to do ‘everything within the Council’s power’ to deliver net zero emissions across its functions by 2040, ten years earlier than the target set by the Government, and in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s higher confidence threshold for limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial revolution average.

The motion, which was voted for overwhelmingly by councillors earlier this week, built on the Mayor’s climate emergency declaration in February and, for the first time, documented formally both the extensive work on decarbonisation that has been undertaken since the 2018 Local Elections and the stretching targets that the Council will now begin working towards.

As part of the motion, the Council resolved to: 

  • To tell the truth about the climate emergency we face, and pursue its declaration of a climate emergency with the utmost seriousness and urgency.

  • Pledge to do everything within the Council’s power to deliver against the stretching targets set by the IPCC’S October 2018 1.50C Report, across the local authority’s full range of functions, including a 45% reduction in emissions against 2010 levels by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2040, and seeking opportunities to make a greater contribution.

  • Call on the UK Government to provide powers and resources to make the 2030 and 2040 targets possible.

  • Actively campaign to change national policy where failure to tackle the challenge of heating our homes without fossil fuels, fossil fuel subsidies, insufficient carbon taxation, road-building, and airports expansion, for example, has actively undermined decarbonisation and promoted unsustainable growth.

  • Support the campaign to create a just transition for workers and users and be part of the creation nationally of a million public sector climate jobs with particular reference to extending sustainable accessible and integrated public transport, retrofitting housing stock, energy democracy, heating and cooling from renewable energy and eco build, food and waste.

  • Involve, support and enable residents, businesses and community groups to accelerate the shift to a zero carbon world, working closely with them to establish and implement successful policies, approaches and technologies that reduce emissions across our economy while also improving the health and wellbeing of our citizens.

  • Produce an annual update to Full Council on the progress made against the Council’s decarbonisation commitments, and conduct an annual Citizens Assembly comprised of a representative group of local residents to allow for effective public scrutiny the Council’s progress and to explore solutions to the challenges posed by global warming.

  • Work with other local governments (both within the UK and internationally) to determine and implement best practice methods to limit Global Warming to less


Cllr Jon Burke, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm
Lots of political administrations around the world have declared a climate emergency, but I believe Hackney’s motion represents one of the most robust, science-based commitments yet delivered. The fact that Hackney Council has been responding in very practical ways to the climate emergency long before we passed this important motion should also give the public confidence that we are fully committed to doing everything within our power to avert a breakdown of the natural systems on which civilisation depends and protect residents of Hackney in the process.

We have already delivered 50% renewable electricity for the Council and many local schools’ needs on 1 April, and will switch to 100% in 2020; we’re establishing a publicly-owned clean energy company that will turn Hackney into a renewables power station; we are rapidly decarbonising the Council fleet of vehicles and addressing land transport sector emissions; we’re decarbonising the built environment through changes to the planning system; we’re investing extensively in green infrastructure to derive a wide variety of environmental benefits, from cooler streets to enhanced biodiversity; we’re creating a model for drastically limiting the use of petrochemical plastics; and we’re investing heavily in our waste service to reduce resource consumption and increase recycling.

However, the public will rightly ask what the Council is doing today that is wasn’t doing before we formally declared a climate emergency. That’s why I’m also proud to announce that we are now reviewing some of our key 2018 Manifesto commitments to see how they can be enhanced and/or delivered earlier, so the public can expect some exciting announcements in the coming weeks and months.
Cllr Jon Burke, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm