Ambitious climate action plan proposes new grants to make the borough more sustainable
Published: Wednesday, February 7, 2024
- Updated Wandsworth climate change action plan reaffirms pledge to become net zero borough by 2043 .
- Extensive work carried out during 2023 to reduce emissions and new priorities set for 2024.
- New microgrants scheme set up to enable the community to join the climate fight.
A new grants scheme has been set up enable community groups and residents to join the ongoing work across the borough to make Wandsworth carbon neutral by 2030 and a net zero borough by 2043.
This week Wandsworth’s Environment Committee looked back at the progress over the past year of the Wandsworth Environment and Sustainability Strategy (WESS) and its associated action plan. They also agreed on updated priorities and actions for 2024, including the launch of the Wandsworth Climate Microgrants scheme.
In 2023 Wandsworth was one of the few local authorities to achieve a place on the CDP Cities A list for the second year running. The award recognises ambition, leadership and transparency in taking climate action.
Significant progress during the year included the setting up of the Citizen’s Assembly on Air Quality, an independent group made up of randomly-chosen local people as part of the council’s pledge to listen to local people and work together to meet challenges. The assembly came up with 53 recommendations which formed the basis of a new Air Quality Action Plan.
Other work included:
- Planting 705 trees and an ambitious plan to plant many more in the years ahead.
- Greening up council buildings including schools, children’s centres, libraries and sheltered housing blocks. Decarbonising buildings has seen a reduction in emissions by more than 12 per cent since 2021.
- Installing 525 electric vehicle charging points.
- Improving recycling rates on council estates.
- Better air quality monitoring and more anti-idling events.
- Installing bike infrastructure including a further 110 bike hangars and dedicated cycle lanes, including one on Wandsworth Bridge.
- Creating more School Streets to cut traffic outside schools.
- Setting up schemes to encourage e-cargo bikes.
- Helping people improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
- A new Library of Things and events including a Reuse and Repair Fair and support for Great Big Green Week.
The Wandsworth Climate Microgrants scheme will provide funding for small community groups to develop and deliver projects to help achieve the net zero target. The rolling one-year scheme will see applications assessed once a month and, once awarded, groups will have up to six months to use the money. Details on what grants have been awarded and what they have achieved will be published in the council’s regular climate change newsletters.
Other priorities in 2024 will include further decarbonisation of buildings, developing a plan to switch to electric council vehicles, sustainable procurement, increased tree planting and habitat creation, further decarbonisation of the pension fund, creating school streets at half the borough’s primary schools, support to help people retrofit their homes to reduce emissions and more support for council tenants faced with rising fuel costs.
A new waste fleet running on hydrogenated vegetable oil and food waste will be rolled out borough-wide. Work on improving recycling on estates will be expanded and communication will continue to share messages about climate change and help people take the action they need to recycle more and use less.
An Air Quality Ambassadors programme will be set up and air quality data will be collected and shared with schools, businesses and communities to help local people understand and take action to improve air quality. Work will be done to reduce emissions from construction sites and commercial kitchens.
Judi Gasser, cabinet member for environment, said: “We are in a climate emergency, so it is vital we maintain our energy and focus, and work with the rest of the borough to achieve our goal of becoming net zero. We review the WESS each year and we must make sure we deliver what we promise.
“We will continue to be open and transparent about our progress and the hard work that lies ahead. We can’t do it alone, and the brilliant report from the Citizen’s Assembly on Air Quality shows how much we need the input of others.
“We’ll let you know about the different ways you can get involved via our newsletters, social media feeds, website and Brightside. Together we can fight pollution and climate change and make Wandsworth cleaner, healthier and more sustainable.”
Find out more about work to tackle the climate emergency at wandsworth.gov.uk/climate-change