Enfield ranked behind most London councils on climate

Council ranked 23rd among London boroughs for its response to the climate emergency, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Enfield Council cabinet members celebrate declaring a 'climate emergency'
Enfield Council cabinet members celebrate declaring a ‘climate emergency’ in 2019 (credit Enfield Council)

Enfield Council has been ranked among the bottom third of London boroughs for its plans to tackle the climate emergency.

The council came 23rd in London in a ranking system drawn up by campaign group Climate Emergency UK (CEUK), with a score of 46%.

CEUK used 28 questions to assess UK councils’ climate action plans, with criteria including whether climate actions are costed, if the actions are assigned to specific teams, and whether the actions have clear goals.

Enfield Council’s climate plan, published in 2020, scored zero marks in two categories: diversity and social inclusion; and education, skills and training.

However, it performed better on commitment and integration, scoring five out of seven, and community engagement and communications, with six out of a possible nine points.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council was the top-rated London authority, with an overall score of 80%.

Enfield Council declared a ‘climate emergency’ in 2019. Its climate action plan, published the following year, set targets to slash the council’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030 and for the borough as a whole to become carbon neutral by 2040.

Measures set out in the plan include planting a new woodland to offset emissions, refurbishing buildings to make them more energy efficient, and divesting the council’s pension fund from fossil fuel companies.

Responding to the findings, a council spokesperson said: “The sustainability and climate action work of Enfield Council has been awarded an A- rating by the internationally recognised environmental data charity CDP. This makes us one of the best-performing local authorities in London based on an objective and independent assessment by a team of professionals in this field.”

They added: “The 2021 climate action plan progress report set out a number of achievements, which demonstrate that the council is committed to and is delivering climate action.”

Recent actions undertaken by the council to cut emissions include introducing twelve school streets, installing 77 electric vehicle lamp column chargers and fitting new solar panels at the civic centre. A low-traffic neighbourhood introduced in Bowes Park has been made permanent, and a council report recommends that a similar scheme in Fox Lane also be made permanent.

Next year, CEUK will rate councils on the actions they are taking to reduce emissions and improve biodiversity.

Isaac Beevor, from CEUK, said: “Local authorities can help to deliver 30% of the cuts in carbon emissions needed to get to net zero, according to the sixth UK Carbon Budget published a year ago, so it is vital that councils do as much as they can.

“This year’s scorecards are just the start of the process. It has been an important exercise to understand what makes a good council climate action plan, and we hope that it will help councils learn from each other and up their game. A good plan will help a local authority deliver effective actions, as well as enabling local residents to know what their council has committed to and so hold the council to account.

“While we understand that councils need much more support and funding from national government and have been stretched by responding to the pandemic, the fact that some councils have developed well thought-out, costed and ambitious plans shows that it is possible.”