Cllr Champion alongside the retrofitted refuse collection vehicle

Islington Together festival kicks off with two weeks of free events for all

Islington Council has begun its climate emergency festival - two weeks of free events open to local people and businesses - and has unveiled an innovative, world-first twin-pack retrofitted electric refuse collection vehicle that will help bring cleaner air to local people.  

The festival, titled “Islington Together: Let’s talk about a greener future”, is a fortnight-long programme of free events and activities designed to help the council, local people, businesses and partners work together to help tackle the climate emergency.  

Action to make Islington - one of the six London boroughs most at risk from climate change - cleaner, greener and healthier is vitally important. The council itself directly and indirectly contributes to 9% of Islington’s carbon emissions, so tackling the climate emergency requires a collaborative approach involving residents, businesses and partners.  

The festival runs until Friday, 29 October, with local people, businesses and partners invited attend a number of engaging events run by the council and community, including:        

  • A guided walk to understand the benefits of Islington’s people-friendly streets neighbourhoods     
  • An online tour of the world-first Bunhill 2 Energy Centre, which uses waste heat from the London Underground to power hundreds of homes.       
  • Community-run food growing events        
  • A networking event, run by the Islington Sustainable Energy Partnership, for businesses to discuss their involvement in local sustainability projects.        
  • Guided tree walks        
  • A bike repair workshop       

A full programme and information on signing up to attend events and activities can be found here.        

Held in the lead-up to the COP26 conference, the festival will shine a light on the vital changes that people across the borough can make to make Islington a cleaner, greener, healthier place, free from the health inequalities that are associated with climate change.    

To mark the beginning of the festival, a new retrofitted, fully-electric refuse collection vehicle was unveiled outside the Town Hall.  

The Dennis Eagle vehicle originally ran on diesel fuel, and had been near the end of its life. However, with the support of Refuse Vehicle Solutions in Gloucestershire, it has been refurbished and repowered, and is now fully electric-powered.  

This is believed to be the first time in the world that a twin-pack refuse collection vehicle – which collects two stems of waste at once – has been fully retrofitted and refurbished.  

The vehicle – which is a symbol of the council’s innovative, forward-thinking approach to creating a greener fleet and tackling climate change – will produce no exhaust emissions, creating cleaner air for local people, and will run more efficiently than when it was brand new. This retrofitted vehicle will now last an additional seven years.  

Although Islington’s fleet already boasts 11% electric vehicles, this also marks the first time that one of the council’s diesel vehicles has been converted to be fully electric. 

The vehicle was on display for all to see at the Islington Together festival launch event, which also featured a keynote speech from Jason Torrance, Assistant Chief Executive of UK100 - a network of elected leaders committed to cleaner, more powerful communities - and David Harrison, Chair of the environmental charity Islington Living Streets and Co-Founder of Footways London.    

Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, said: “The climate emergency is a pressing issue, and it’s clear that urgent action is needed to ensure that present and future generations can live healthy, independent lives.     

“The council has been working tirelessly to do its bit, and the unveiling of our first retrofitted electric vehicle is a symbol of our innovative, forward-thinking approach to creating a cleaner, greener, healthier borough.    

“We cannot tackle climate change alone, though, and local people, businesses and partners will have to play their part. The Islington Together festival will allow the borough to come together to explore the changes we can all make to address the climate emergency, and we look forward to welcoming local people to these fantastic events.”  

Media contact information

If you are a member of the media and would like more information please contact:

Islington Council media team – media@islington.gov.uk or 020 7527 2307.  Out of hours: 07769 163303

If you are a member of the public with a general question about the council please contact:

Contact Islington – www.islington.gov.uk/contact-us or 020 7527 2000