Climate action plan agreed

A tree planting event held last November at Weir Hall Park, Edmonton
A tree planting event held last November at Weir Hall Park, Edmonton

Report by Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

A £1.3million project to create a new woodland by planting 100,000 trees will help to cut the borough’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2040, claims Enfield Council.

The Enfield Chase woodland creation project forms part of the council’s Enfield Climate Action Plan, which sets out a range of measures to slash carbon emissions from transport, buildings and other sources.

Due to be created on 60 hectares of council-owned farmland to the north of Trent Park, the new woodland is being funded with £748,000 from the mayor of London, £425,000 from the Forestry Commission, and £150,000 from the council itself. Once established it will play a role in carbon offsetting and is projected to capture around 234 tonnes of carbon emissions every year.

Enfield Council aims to cut its own carbon emissions to net zero by 2030 by ensuring all its vehicles are electric, refurbishing buildings to make them energy efficient and divesting its pension fund from fossil fuel companies, among other measures.

As well as cutting emissions produced directly by the council, the action plan includes a commitment to tackle “scope three emissions” – those from sources that are not owned or controlled by the local authority.

It acknowledges the whole borough will take longer to become carbon neutral and aims to achieve this goal by 2040.

With transport in Enfield accounting for an estimated 39% of the borough’s total emissions, more cycling and walking infrastructure will be created to reduce car use.

Low traffic neighbourhoods, school streets and play streets will play a role in cutting emissions, along with more charging points for electric vehicles.

All of the borough’s buildings are expected to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. This will be accomplished through measures such as building homes to low-carbon standards, retrofitting existing housing and switching to low-carbon power sources.

The council also aims to double its current below-average recycling rate by the mid 2030s and ensure no waste is sent to landfill by 2040. The local authority has already agreed, through North London Waste Authority, to build a new incinerator in Edmonton – a project opposed by local environment groups.

While the council is committed to carbon reduction, having declared a ‘climate emergency’ in 2019, the action plan states that it cannot do so without support from the government – including extra funding. Enfield Climate Action Plan was adopted at a meeting of the cabinet earlier this month.

Councillor Ian Barnes, the deputy leader and chair of the council’s climate change task force, said: “Climate change is an existential threat to our way of life and the dangers it poses are evolving and accelerating.

“Our action plan is ambitious and innovative and will enable us to play our full role in meeting national and global targets for reducing carbon emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change.

“This is a far-reaching plan, which we will be delivering at a very challenging time for local government, so we will be monitoring progress including through an annual report and making sure the plan continues to be fit for purpose with a review every two years.

“We definitely cannot achieve these actions alone and, after a decade of cuts from Government and increasing pressure on services, we will need our partners to support us. After the recent critical report from the Committee for Climate Change, the government must now get serious about climate change and offer financial support to local authorities.”

Read the Enfield Climate Action Plan: