Category: Cities and local authorities, Emission inventories, Policies and measures

Lewisham Route to Neutral

Support to Lewisham Council to define the route to carbon neutral for the Borough

The Challenge

Lewisham Council declared a climate emergency in February 2019. The Council has set a target to be a carbon neutral borough by 2030.  The Council has shown significant ambition reflecting the urgent action that is needed and is being demanded by the public.

Lewisham Council contracted Aether, together with CAG Consultants and Future Climate, to provide support in defining the route to carbon neutral for the Borough. The challenge was to quantify, as far as possible, what is needed to achieve carbon neutral in the Borough by 2030.  The work was the first step to enabling the Council to develop a detailed action plan across the Borough.  

The Solution

Aether provided support through a variety of tasks:

  • defining the boundary of the carbon emissions to include in the target for net zero;
  • calculating the baseline emissions for 2017/18 incusing collating data from the Borough;
  • through research and discussions with Council stakeholders, developing modelling to identify a list of actions and activities that are needed for the Council and the Borough to reach their target.

In considering the boundary for the emissions we established what is measurable (with data available) and also what is within the control of the Council and separately what is influenced by the  businesses and residents of Lewisham. Some aspects can be readily quantified, using Council or published data, but other sources cannot be directly quantified, such as aviation emissions for flights taken by people of Lewisham, and the carbon footprint of the food that they consume. 

Our modelling uses the Carbon Scenario Model (CSM), an excel based tool comprised of a carbon footprint for the borough’s current emissions and emission reduction trajectories up to 2030 including impacts of actions.

Implementing the scale of action identified through the analysis will require significant ambition and funding.  Initial estimates of investment costs have been made, but there is significant uncertainty at this stage before projects are defined in more detail. It has been important to Identify which actions are within the control of the Council and related agencies such as housing associations, and those that will require the involvement of other stakeholders or policy decisions and investment by the GLA and central Government.

The result

Lewisham Council now has a better understanding of the types of actions required within the Borough to work towards their net zero target.  The climate change team is also able to continue to use the model provided by Aether, to update the analysis as their action planning progresses.

Lewisham is one of the first London Boroughs to publish their Climate Emergency Action Plan - a draft will be presented to the Mayor and Cabinet for approval in March 2020. The action plan has been developed building on Aether’s analysis together with input from public consultations.

The next steps for Lewisham will be to add detail to the individual elements of the plan: to continue to build on public pressure to engage with people and make positive changes; to undertake detailed feasibility assessments for investments; and to make demands on the GLA and Central Government to enable the significant changes that are required to meet the challenges of reaching net zero carbon. 

See all case studies

Katie King

Director

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