Lewisham Climate Emergency Action Plan approved


LEWISHAM Climate Emergency Strategic Action Plan that sets out a path for the London borough to become carbon neutral by 2030 has been approved by the Mayor and Council.

The plan sets out a detailed goals for Lewisham in aspects such as housing and transport, not only listing future actions for the Council itself but what the Council’s partners, such as Government departments, need to do in order to successfully support them.

In a joint Foreword for the Plan the Mayor of Lewisham, Damien Egan, Cabinet Lead, Sophie McGeevor, and the Young Mayor, Femi Komolafe said: “Society faces a climate and ecological crisis that is the legacy of a generation of inaction.

“The declaration of a Climate Emergency by Lewisham Council, and hundreds of other organisations up and down the country, is the first step in answer to the call for a new response to this crisis.

“The difference in the impetus for change is that this call for action has come from citizens, and particularly from young people, internationally, but also here in the borough.

“Meeting this challenge will fundamentally change how we live, but if it is to be successful, this change will not be about giving things up: instead it will be a way to enrich our lives.

“Taking strong action on energy, carbon and our environment means our air will be cleaner, our homes warmer, we will feel healthier, and we will live in places designed for people
with green spaces teeming with life.

“Action on climate change also has the power to create a renaissance in the British economy.

“Across the country millions of jobs could be created and Lewisham is already home to some of the most exciting businesses in the green economy.

To meet the Climate Emergency the investment required is huge, a minimum of £1.6bn over 10 years.

“But the cost of not acting is predicted to be even higher.

“We are incredibly proud that Lewisham is at the forefront of councils responding to the climate emergency and believe this Action Plan sets the path for the borough to be carbon neutral by 2030 and ensure we will leave a greener, better Lewisham for future generations.”


The Action Plan covers five delivery areas:

  • Leading By Example
    • Delivering organisational culture change within the Council, which includes publishing  an annual performance report of the Council’s energy consumption, carbon emissions, water and recycling etc.
    • Carbon neutral corporate buildings, which includes halving carbon emissions from their buildings and bringing the Council’s commercial estate up to EPC Band C by 2025.
    • Reducing carbon intensity of service delivery, which includes renewing the corporate bus fleet with 40 new vehicles all with the latest Euro 6 engines.
    • Improvements across schools, which includes work towards achieving new higher energy standards for schools with the aim for new schools to be DEC A and refurbished schools DEC B.
    • Using the Council’s financial decision-making to drive change, which includes reviewing and updating existing procurement and social value policies to strengthen the value placed on life-cycle assessment, support the circular economy and reduce carbon emissions across their supply chain.


  • Sustainable Housing
    • Delivering carbon reduction through Lewisham Homes’ built environment, which includes reviewing procurement policies to increase the sustainability of major works, including selecting lower carbon materials and reusing structures and construction materials where possible.
    • Mainstreaming carbon reduction into the Lewisham Homes’ business model, which includes incrementally upgrade the Lewisham Homes’ fleet to low emission combustion and hybrid with the aim of becoming fully powered by renewable electricity as soon as is practicable.
    • Raising standards across all tenures, which includes getting all domestic buildings in the borough to an average of EPC Band B.
    • Provide practical support to residents vulnerable to the cold, which includes undertaking an assessment of the equalities implications of climate change and of the actions at national, regional and local level to reduce carbon and work with partners to find additional ways to support affected groups to mitigate the impact.
    • Support zero carbon growth, which includes ensuring that developments which cannot meet onsite carbon targets comply with policy through payment into Lewisham’s carbon offset fund.
    • Decarbonising heat, which includes working with Veolia to implement the joint memorandum of understanding agreed with the Council to deliver opportunities to utilise unused heat from the SELCHP facility to supply local homes.


  • Decarbonised Transport
    • An integrated and sustainable approach to transport that meets local needs without
      compromising the environment, which includes setting a strategic target for 80% of journeys in London to be made by walking, cycling and public transport by 2041.
    • Healthy neighbourhoods that promote walking and cycling, which includes delivering a programme of local transport improvements to provide a better walking environment along Lewisham High Street.
    • Improvements to public transport, which includes increased rail access to and from Lewisham’s growth areas and working with Transport for London to improve bus journey times.
    • Supporting the uptake of cleaner vehicles and reducing emissions from vehicles, which includes achieving an ambition of at least one electric vehicle charging point within a 500m walk of every resident.


  • Greener Adaptive Lewisham
    • Increase climate change resilience through improvements to local green infrastructure
      and other adaptive measures, which includes developing a highways-based Sustainable Urban Drainage solutions to reduce the risk of surface water
      flooding reduce pressures on highways drainage.
    • Improving air quality, which includes introducing the Clean Air Neighbourhoods where communities can cooperate in measures that will reduce carbon with the aim of being an approved ‘Clean Air Neighbourhood’, allowing them to influence future development and businesses into their area.
    • A carbon neutral waste strategy, which includes identifying and developing proposals to make Lewisham’s Reduction and Recycling Strategy a fully carbon neutral strategy on waste.


  • Inspiring, Learning and Lobbying
    • Inspiring, informing and engaging residents and communities, which includes developing the proposals within Lewisham’s Borough of Culture programme to create new ways to engage with residents on climate change through culture and collective
      action. The plan is that 2021 becomes a year of concerted action on carbon reduction
      across Lewisham.
    • Supporting a grass roots movement towards low carbon living, which includes working with community partners to develop further funding opportunities to support local community energy projects.
    • Working in partnership to respond to the climate crisis, which includes working with local education and skills providers and with local businesses to develop the
      supply chain for building retrofit and carbon reduction technologies.
    • Being open to new ideas and continuing to raise the Council’s game on Climate Emergency, which includes committing to an annual public review of the Council’s Climate Emergency work to be held on or near the anniversary of the original declaration of a Climate Emergency (27 February 2019.)
    • Engaging Government and others to bring about radical change, which includes officers supporting a pan-London approach to lobbying through London Councils, the
      Association of Local Energy Officers in London and through other fora.

The Council, which is responsible for 3% of the borough’s carbon emissions, has already made progress reducing its energy consumption by rationalising Council offices and through lighting and heating improvements.

The big challenges the Council is facing going forward include:

  • The poor state of many of the remaining occupied corporate buildings, and the disruption that large scale refurbishment would have on service delivery;
  • The financial viability of large-scale improvement works, which are unlikely to deliver enough savings particularly for older buildings that have exceeded their
    expected lifespan;
  • Finding ways to increase the level of investment in schools, which account for more than 50% of our emissions from buildings;
  • Improving buildings in the council’s commercial portfolio that do not meet existing or expected standards in relation to energy performance;
  • The cost of infrastructure and technology needed to provide full electrification of the council’s fleet.