On 10th July 2019 at a full Merton Council meeting all political parties signed up to a cross party motion for the Council to declare a Climate Emergency and a target of 2050 for the borough to achieve carbon neutrality. This may seem a lifetime away but there is serious action to be taken by every one that runs a business or lives in Merton. Transport and heating systems – anything that is based on fossil fuels – lie at the heart of the challenge. 97.5% of emissions within the borough come from the buildings we work in and the vehicles we drive. The Council will be leading on drawing up an Action Plan for the borough and really need representatives from businesses to get involved. The key areas of action are set to be switching to low carbon energy sources in buildings, reducing car journeys, encouraging the use of electric vehicles, the consumption of sustainable products, green investment and the creation of green spaces across the borough.
Under its declaration the Council has also pledged to make every effort to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2030. The council’s actions will involve work to reduce and decarbonise the energy used in all its 340 buildings, transport and contracted out services. Merton Council has been working to reduce its emissions for some time, cutting them by 35 per cent since 2009 and the motion will build upon this work.
The council is already taking a number of measures to reduce carbon emissions from car journeys. Measures have included encouraging residents to enjoy making more sustainable trips by foot, bicycle or public transport and the ongoing installation of charge points for electric powered vehicles.
Merton, which currently has 101 publicly accessible electric fast chargers operating with another 36 expected to be installed by the end of 2019, is among the top boroughs in London for this expansion. Ongoing projects include to help clean up the air includes action to ensure drivers turn off their engines while waiting outside schools.
For more information on how everyone can get involved visit the www.merton.gov.uk/climatechange
Photo: July 2019 – Merton’s 4 political party leaders sign a joint declaration. From left: Merton Conservatives Leader Councillor Nick McLean, Merton Council Leader Councillor Stephen Alambritis, Merton Liberal Democrat Group Leader Councillor Anthony Fairclough and Merton Park Ward Independent Residents Group Leader Councillor Peter Southgate.