Islington Council publishes two landmark plans on creating a greener, healthier, fairer borough
Islington Council has published two landmark reports which outline how it can create a greener, healthier, fairer borough for all.
The two blueprints – “Vision 2030: Creating a Net Zero Carbon Islington by 2030” and the “Islington Transport Strategy 2020-2041” – map out long-term strategies for creating a more sustainable Islington for present and future generations.
Both strategies detail actions that the council can commit to taking immediately, potential commitments that require further investigation, and, crucially, what the council requires from others, such as central Government, to achieve its goals, including funding, powers and legislation.
Upon declaring a climate emergency last year, Islington Council set itself the bold, ambitious target of creating a net zero carbon borough by 2030. The Vision 2030 report outlines how – with the help of others - this goal can be achieved, which in turn would reduce the cost of living and the inequalities that are caused by climate change.
Meanwhile, the Transport Strategy maps out the necessary steps to achieve a fairer, healthier and greener transport environment by the year 2041. It describes how the council can build on the important steps already taken to improve the borough’s transport network, including the creation of people-friendly streets and School Streets across Islington.
Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We are facing a climate emergency, and these two blueprints set out a clear vision for how the borough and its key partners can tackle this together and create a greener, fairer and more sustainable borough for present and future generations.
“When we declared a climate emergency last year, we set ourselves the ambitious target of creating a net zero carbon borough by 2030, and these documents outline the bold, exciting steps necessary to help turn this target into a reality.
“The strategies show that Islington Council is taking the lead when it comes to tackling the climate emergency and ensuring that transport in our borough is as green, sustainable and fair as possible.
“What is clear, though, is that we cannot achieve these goals alone. The strategies set out ambitious, wide-ranging innovations and ideas, which can only come to fruition with support from others, including residents, local businesses, and other bodies including central Government.”
The Vision 2030 report details the steps that the council has taken so far to address climate change. These include launching the world-first Bunhill 2 Energy Centre which uses waste heat from the London Underground to heat local homes, being a partner in the GreenSCIES project with the aim of reducing fuel poverty in the borough and utilising green energy, and launching London’s largest carbon offset fund.
The plan also sets out key ways that the council can help create a net zero carbon borough by 2030, including:
- Helping to improve the energy efficiency and reducing the level of carbon emissions from residents’ homes
- Delivering a total of 20 people-friendly streets neighbourhoods, as well as implementing School Streets or equivalent interventions at all primary schools
- Electrifying the council’s fleet of vehicles
- Moving to green electricity, as well as encouraging and helping others to do the same
- Working with businesses to help make Islington’s economy greener, and to secure greener development with additional green planning policies
- Helping and encouraging residents and other organisations to play their part.
The Vision 2030 strategy shows that the council is taking the lead in addressing climate change – but everyone will need to play their part to create a net zero carbon borough. Central Government, for example, will have to step up to provide adequate, sustained funding and a legislative framework to support the implementation of the strategy.
The council has direct control of 4% of the borough’s carbon emissions, and indirect responsibility for about 5% in its role as a landlord to around 25,000 properties. As well as reducing its own emissions, the council is therefore doing work to inform its partners, including schools and educational institutions, what they can do to create a greener future.
Local residents, businesses, and community groups are at the heart of the borough, and will also play a significant role in helping Islington to achieve net zero. The council has worked successfully with the community on initiatives such as the Islington Community Energy Fund and the Energising Small Business Fund, and continuing this collaboration with residents, local businesses and community groups to enable them to reduce their emissions is essential.
Ongoing efforts to create a net zero carbon Islington are supported by the measures outlined in the Transport Strategy for 2020-2041, where a commitment is made to working to eliminate all transport-related carbon emissions from the borough by 2030.
The overarching aim of the Transport Strategy is to encourage and enable local people, where possible, to make more journeys on foot and by bike. This would improve air quality, ensure better health outcomes for local people, and make transport fairer for all. As part of this goal, Islington Council is continuing to create people-friendly streets and School Streets to reduce traffic in residential areas and make streets safer and cleaner.
Other objectives include using Islington’s transport network to ensure a more resilient local economy where town centres, street markets, and shopping streets can continue to thrive, supporting the delivery of new homes and job growth, and being a leader in trialling emerging smart technologies.
But, as with the Vision 2030 report, the ambitions and commitments outlined in the Transport Strategy cannot be achieved without significant support from residents and partners. The council will have to work, for example, with the Mayor of London to make the case for more investment in London’s public transport system to reduce overcrowding and increase reliability, which is vital in reducing motor vehicle use.
The adoption of the two documents will be subject to a vote at the council’s executive meeting on Thursday, 26 November. You can read both the Vision 2030 report and the Transport Strategy in full on the council’s website.