A summary of our plans for the environment in Barking and Dagenham
Like many other local authorities, we have declared a climate change emergency. We recognise that everyone needs to play their part in tackling climate change. We will play ours by aiming to doing whatever we can to become the Green Capital of the Capital; a carbon neutral council by 2030, and a carbon neutral borough by 2050. This means recycling more, decarbonising our energy system, improving the energy efficiency of our homes and buildings, improving the quality of our air, and creating new, green economy jobs.
To read more our plans take a look at B&D Greener Together - A summary of our plans for the environment in Barking & Dagenham. Or to read about how this plans respond directly to the questions you asked in January 2019, take a look at the questions and answers section below.
Questions and answers
Reducing carbon emissions in the borough is great, but is it really going to make a difference to climate change?
Tackling climate change requires global action. But every person and place will need to play their part. The council is committed to providing leadership on this agenda - becoming the Green Capital of the Capital and at the same time supporting local wellbeing by delivering sustainable and affordable energy, energy-efficient buildings, and improvements in air quality.
Which renewable energy technologies are you planning to invest in and why?
We have to shift our homes and workplaces away from gas, so over the next decade will be testing the business case for roll-out of solar PVs, heat pump and battery technologies in particular. The key to a carbon neutral future is integrating these technologies into a whole-house approach rather than stand-alone usage, and that will be expensive. So, we need to develop cost effective models to produce the desirable, affordable carbon neutral new and existing homes of the future.
What are you doing to plant more trees and to rewild our landscapes?
Our Parks and Open Spaces Strategy provides for the master-planning of 10 of our major green spaces including a programme of playground upgrades and repairs; an improvement project for Abbey Ruins; installation of habitat enhancements, such as bird and bat boxes; planting at least 800 new saplings a year and maximising tree canopy cover against urban warming. On top of creating new orchards, skylight and summer meadows, we also have plans to upgrade 38 sites of interest for nature conservation.
Aren't you just punishing motorists for a problem that isn't their making?
We’re not punishing motorists. We’re supporting residents to adopt more sustainable methods of travelling. This will not only help reduce carbon but can also promote healthier lifestyle choices and improve air quality for everybody. We are also supporting motorists to prepare for the fact that petrol vehicles will cease production in 15 years’ time, by providing the infrastructure for the move too low emissions transport.
Aren't the council still relying on fuel powered vehicles themselves?
The council has already begun its move towards a low-emission fleet through the purchase of some electric street cleaners and refuse vehicles, with plans to increase this to 25% by 2025 and for full electrification by 2030.
What more can be done to encourage and support residents to switch to electric vehicles?
While there is widespread appreciation of the environmental benefits of e-vehicles, the cost, travel range and current lack of charging points can understandably put people off. To address this over the coming year we plan to:
- run a special online survey to gauge local demand for/ interest in e-vehicles via our social media
- promote the latest developments in low emission vehicle technology, highlight relevant promotions and provide links to maps which point out the location of existing charge points
- provide an online demand portal for residents who wish to request a charging point in their vicinity, which we will consider according to site logistics
- work with providers to provide resident drivers with a clean driving licence and excellent safety record a free six-month trial of an electric car
Shouldn't we be encouraging people to buy less as well as recycling more?
Yes. We are devising a joint waste and resources strategy and communications plan with our four neighbouring boroughs to reduce waste and encourage reuse and repair of products, as well as incentivising recycling. We are also preparing the borough for changes to recycling policy in 2023, which are likely to result in separate food waste collections, recycling deposit schemes for bottles and a more consistent approach to reuse.