Hounslow Council Says Progress Made Towards Net Zero

Proposals made to spend over £1million on air quality monitoring

Greens say housing must be built like this development in Brentford to reach target
Greens say housing must be built like this development in Brentford to reach target

Plans to further reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality were outlined in a report presented at Hounslow Council’s Cabinet meeting this Tuesday night (7 September). Among the measure were proposals to spend £1.2million to expand and upgrade air quality measuring equipment across the borough and carry out air pollution audits in local schools.

The report set out measures that have been put in place by the council so far. These include:

• Securing £18.9m national Government funding to install low carbon technologies such as air source heat pumps, LED Lighting and other energy efficiency measures in 33 school buildings and 25 council owned buildings.
• Securing funding from the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme to retrofit both private and social housing to improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel poverty. Developers building new housing developments will also have to continue to demonstrate they are minimising heat loss and maximising energy efficiency in all homes they build.
• In 2020-21 the Council planted 4500 trees -the aim is to continue the tree planting programme increasing canopy cover to mitigate impacts of climate change and delivering on its commitment to plant a tree for every child born in the borough.
• Allocating £1.2m to improve air quality including upgrading air quality monitoring facilities across the borough, conducting regular air pollution audits in and around schools and increasing stakeholder engagement and collaboration to raise awareness of the air quality agenda.
• Hounslow’s Cabinet has also agreed to adopt the World Health Organisations (WHO) limit values for measuring progress for Particulate Matter 2.5 and 10 across the borough with the aim to improving the boroughs air quality and reducing health inequalities.
• Accelerating the roll-out of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points including in all council car parks and on any new housing developments built in the borough.
• Introducing a dedicated Eco-Schools Programme for Hounslow school children in conjunction with Keep Britain Tidy, as well as hosting an Environment Youth Summit for schools during COP26 in November.
• As part of its Green Fleet Strategy, the council aims to ensure 50% of its vehicle fleet, including those used by contractors, are zero emission or hybrid. This will include upgrading 230 vehicles in the fleet and trialling the use of bio-fuels for waste collection vehicles.
• Developing a Green Skills Academy to give residents the opportunity to retrain and obtain skills relevant to the Green Economy.
• Producing a Heat Map and Energy Masterplan to identify opportunities to develop District Heat Networks across Hounslow

The Council declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019 and it says has wider borough emissions have reduced by 55.9 kilotonnes of CO2 since 2017. In this time recycling rates have also increased from 29.9% to 35.3%, over 4,500 trees have been planted and the number of residents participating in the All Ability Cycle Training has also increased. As part of its Climate Emergency Action Plan, introduced in the summer of 2020, Hounslow is committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions across the Council by 2030.

Cllr Katherine Dunne, Hounslow Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Climate Emergency said: “There has been pleasing progress against our ambitious target to become net zero carbon by 2030. This is vital to help the international fight against climate change, but also to improve the quality of life of our residents on a local level.

“We’ve made a good start, but the fact of the matter is that there is so much more we need to do across Hounslow to curb emissions, improve air quality and also encourage residents and businesses to play their part in reducing their carbon footprints.”

The Green Party in Hounslow believe that the council has failed to take account of its house building programme when measuring its CO2 emissions. Stephen Clark, Green Party candidate for Brentford West in the 2022 council elections said, “We fully support the council’s desire to solve the housing problem, but each home built in concrete and steel produces carbon emissions approximately double what would be emitted by building timber-framed low-rise housing”.

He points out the houses to be built on Orchard Road, Brentford to high environmental standards and asks why all new builds can’t adopt these ‘PassivHaus’ standards?

The full Climate and Clean Air Annual Report 2021 report can be found on the Hounslow Council website.

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September 8, 2021