Councillor Claire Holland, Deputy Leader (Sustainable Transport, Environment and Clean Air), introduced the report and provided an update on progress that had been made in developing and implementing the council’s corporate carbon reduction plan. It was noted, following the publication of the first corporate carbon reduction plan in 2019, that it had been agreed to report to Cabinet annually on progress.
Councillor Holland also provided a summary in relation to the carbon baseline. It was explained that this had been developed over the past year and provided a starting point for reduction measures and would underpin an action plan. This would allow progress to be measured in relation to the council’s target of reaching carbon neutrality by 2030.
Councillor Nicole Griffiths, Co-Leader of the Opposition, and Councillor Pete Elliott made representations which focussed on:
- Concerns that, in their opinion, there was not a clear joined up strategy in place for Lambeth to address the climate emergency and that some actions had not been actioned quickly enough.
- The need to increase the number of stakeholders, including local residents and businesses, involved in developing climate change plans and projects.
- The importance of taking action across the Council, with buy in from senior management, to ensure commitments on climate change were delivered.
- The benefits of retrofitting at scale, especially with the Council working with London South Bank University to deliver training and employment opportunities for local residents.
- The need for system change to ensure greater focus on health and wellbeing.
- Concern that carbon budgets had not been set for either the corporate baseline or the borough wide baseline.
- Environmental concerns in relation to estate regeneration, demolition of housing and the Homes for Lambeth business plan.
- Requests for further information in relation to actions the Housing Directorate would be taking to reduce carbon emissions.
- The need for a more robust plan, with both an emissions reduction pathway and carbon removal pathway in place, in order to reach the target of carbon neutrality by 2030.
In response to questions about senior management support, the Director of Planning, Transport and Sustainability provided an update on governance arrangements and resources in place to support the climate change response programme. This included information on the work of the Climate Change Response Board, which included input from senior officers from across the Council, an update on the work that had been undertaken by the Council’s Management Board, and details of various business as usual activities which had been progressed across the Council to support the corporate goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2030. Information was also provided on additional resources which had been made available, including the scaling up of the Climate Change and Sustainability team.
In response to questions, the Assistant Director for Sustainable Growth and Climate Change Response provided further information on actions and areas of activity that the Council would be taking forward to reduce its corporate carbon emissions, including details in relation to workstreams sponsored by the Director for Housing.
During the discussion that followed, Cabinet considered a wide range of issues, including matters relating to:
- Investing in the Council’s housing stock, to achieve the highest possible sustainability ratings, and ensuring all new council homes were built to the highest efficiency standards.
- The importance of building partnerships and relationships with others, across the borough, to ensure action to reduce carbon emissions had most impact.
- The impact of Covid-19 and ensuring the Council’s response to the pandemic was aligned with its commitments on climate change.
- The additional, and important, work that was required to build greater understanding of the equalities impacts of climate change, including opportunities for action and mitigation.
- The use of technology, including the retrofitting of public buildings, to reduce carbon emissions.
- The development of an Energy Strategy to help reduce both corporate and boroughwide emissions.
- The importance, and challenges, associated with tackling emissions from gas and electricity use.
- Requirements for future procurement exercises to consider carbon emissions and for suppliers to work towards carbon neutrality.
In conclusion, Cabinet paid tribute to both Councillor Holland’s leadership and the excellent work that had been undertaken by officers in developing and implementing the council’s corporate carbon reduction plan.
(1) That the update in the report presented be noted.
(2) That the additional actions to be taken by the council to reduce carbon emissions, as set out in the corporate carbon reduction plan, be agreed.