Ideas put forward by residents on how to tackle climate change will be used to develop a local action plan creating a greener future for Croydon.
Around 400 people have contributed to a new report produced by the independent Croydon Climate Crisis Commission, which the council set up last year to look at how the borough can reduce its carbon footprint, boost green business, improve wellbeing and reduce inequality.
The council will draw up a local action plan later this year based on the commission’s recommendations, which include creating a borough-wide alliance including the council, public and private sector partners, residents, community groups and schools to jointly develop initiatives aimed at reducing emissions and improving quality of life.
Other ideas include measures to support green jobs and skills such as setting up a retrofitting academy with local colleges where construction sector workers learn how to lower buildings’ carbon footprint; using the council’s purchasing power to invest in local sustainable initiatives; and assessing more locations in Croydon for solar energy production.
The commission also focused on the carbon impact of car journeys by recommending extending cycle routes across the borough; expanding the council’s School Streets schemes that cut school-run pollution and congestion; and increasing access to electric car hire hubs.
The commission also highlighted the importance of local climate change risk assessments for flooding and using the Local Plan to encourage more businesses and facilities to be based in well-connected, walkable communities.
Croydon Council declared a climate change and ecological emergency in July 2019 and pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030.
The council commitment to tackling climate change is already seeing sustainable changes in the borough through the introduction of healthy streets schemes and London’s highest number of School Streets that cut congestion by encouraging walking and cycling.
Through the council’s latest parking policy the use of cleaner vehicles is encouraged and there has been investment in cycle racks, cycle lanes and a commitment to plant 3,500 trees. Through investment from Transport for London, the council has also introduced more cycle routes such as along London Road.
The council’s Don’t Mess with Croydon – Take Pride campaign is helping to encourage more people to recycle, with rates hitting 47%, and taking part in community clean-ups with its ever-increasing band of community champions who are helping improve their local environment.
Low-carbon ground-source heat pumps are being installed in council homes that save energy and fuel bills, and the council has pledged to install 400 electric vehicle charging points by 2022.
“Climate change is one of the most important issues facing us today, which is why we set up the commission and involved local people in our borough’s response.
“It is not just about making Croydon greener; it’s also about tackling poor health due to air pollution, addressing fuel poverty, and ensuring our diverse communities experience the health and economic benefits of tackling climate change.
“The recommendations in this report will help us develop a local action plan later this year in partnership with residents and partner organisations to make Croydon a more sustainable borough. I look forward to working with the commission and other partners in the months and years ahead.”
Councillor Muhammad Ali, cabinet member for sustainable Croydon
Commission chair Miatta Fahnbulleh said: “This is a time for bold action. But delivering this is not the remit of any one part of Croydon alone. It must be shared and owned by all parts of Croydon’s resourceful and vibrant community from the council to the health service, schools, colleges, local businesses, trade unions, and residents. This report provides a useful first step as partners in Croydon embark on this journey together.”
The commission’s report is due to be recommended for approval at the council’s cabinet meeting on 7 June.