Westminster has declared a climate emergency – our commitment to becoming a carbon neutral council by 2030 and carbon neutral city by 2040. Urgent action is needed to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5° Celsius, to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.
Westminster has some of the highest carbon emissions and worst air pollution in the UK. However, council emissions account for only 2% of emissions, with 71% from non-domestic buildings, 15% from homes, and 11% from transport.
The ambitious level of change required to meet this target will affect almost every aspect of our daily lives. We want to work in partnership with everyone who lives, works or studies in Westminster to create a greener, cleaner and healthier City for All.
Help shape our climate action plan
We want to create a shared climate action plan that reflects the priorities, ideas and recommendations of local people.
We have created a series of draft recommendations to help us to achieve our targets and are inviting your feedback and comments. It’s your opportunity to help shape action for Westminster and be involved in future programmes and projects across the city.
We’re holding a series of face to face and online events which will help us to:
- understand the priorities of local people, and ensure their voices are at the heart of our action plan
- identify local people and organisations who want to work with us to tackle climate change
- gain ideas for future community projects and understand how the council could support them
You can give your feedback at one of those events or complete an online survey by 7th August 2021. Read more about our plan below and share your views.
Co-creating our climate action plan
The council has worked with sustainability consultants Anthesis Environmental to identify the impact of different types of carbon saving actions. We’ve used this information to create a series of recommended actions under four themes - people and communities; organisations and economy; buildings and energy and movement and places. You can read more about these themes and the recommended actions in the sections below. We will use your feedback, priorities and ideas to create a climate action plan.
Community involvement will be vital across all elements of the climate emergency, from taking individual action to cut carbon emissions to shaping programmes to reduce emissions locally.
There are 125,001 homes in Westminster. The energy used in these homes accounts for 15% of the city’s emissions, higher than those from road transport. Just over half of all homes in Westminster have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of D or lower, with a further 31% being C-rated on a scale from A to E, where A is the highest.
Our vision is that residents, workers and visitors actively adopt behaviours that reduce their carbon impact, and communities work together as part of a city-wide partnership to tackle climate change.
- raise awareness of climate change and promote behaviour that reduces emissions and delivers local sustainability benefits such as local shopping.
- empower resident and community groups to craft their own proposals for reducing carbon emissions in their local area
- support residents to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and reduce energy use
- encourage and empower tenants to report landlords of rental properties with poor energy efficiency performance
- promote local generation and use of affordable, clean energy
- increase take up of sustainable and active transport such as walking and cycling and reduce reliance on private vehicles
- support residents to reduce the amount of waste they produce and increase reuse and recycling
- review the number of general waste collections to reduce waste, increase recycling rates and minimise emissions from collection services
Emissions from shops, offices and other businesses represent a high proportion of our emissions. Reducing energy consumption and fuel usage will be vital in tackling climate change.
Our vision is that Westminster’s businesses take collective action to reduce their carbon emissions and help to shape a thriving, sustainable local economy.
- promote collaboration and provide support and information for organisations and landlords to improve the energy efficiency of the buildings they own, maintain or occupy, and reduce their energy use
- build the capacity of organisations to understand, report and reduce the carbon emissions associated with their operations
- support small businesses to access finance and skills for projects that reduce their carbon impact, such as accessing and installing low carbon energy
- maximise emissions savings through purchasing sustainable goods and services and using local supply chains
- harness opportunities to stimulate a green economic recovery of the city, including low carbon skills and jobs, sustainable investment or clean technology
- reduce emissions from freight, servicing and deliveries through fewer vehicle trips into and through the city and switching to electric vehicles
- support and incentivise organisations to reduce the amount of waste they produce, working in partnership to improve waste reuse and recycling, and maximise circular economy opportunities
- organisations and local waste management companies work together to reduce the carbon impact of their waste collection services
Westminster has a lower uptake of renewable energy such as solar power than other London boroughs. Installation is made difficult due to the number of listed buildings and conservation area status of much of the city. However, the density of energy use makes it a favourable location for the development of heat networks and provides significant opportunities to access otherwise wasted energy, such as heat from the tube network.
To achieve the necessary changes to reduce emissions from homes, changes to the planning and legal requirements for the private rented sector, external social housing providers and homeowners need to be made.
Our vision is that all new developments are net zero and emissions from existing buildings are significantly reduced. Westminster's energy supply comes from affordable, low carbon sources.
- encourage and support improvements to energy efficiency and renewable energy supply such as solar panels on many of Westminster’s buildings
- retrofit buildings across Westminster to improve their energy performance and increase renewable energy sources
- ensure that new developments minimise their whole life carbon impact, reduce emissions on site as far as possible in line with industry best practice standards, and rely less on carbon offsetting
- support landlords and homeowners to improve minimum energy efficiency standards, prioritising improvements to those with the lowest energy performance ratings
- maximise the generation, distribution and use of renewable and low carbon energy across the city such as district heat networks and bio-gas
- improve energy efficiency in council buildings and housing stock and ensure that energy is 100% renewable
Road transport represents 11% of Westminster’s emissions. The arrival of the Elizabeth Line in 2022 and the redevelopment of Victoria Coach Station provide opportunities to reduce congestion and increase the use of active travel and public transport instead of private vehicles.
We are already helping to incentivise low emission vehicles, through parking surcharges for diesel vehicles and resident permit discounts, supported by the provision of over 1,000 electric vehicle charging points.
Green spaces have a significant role in removing carbon emissions from the atmosphere and improvements also improve biodiversity, air quality and enhance wellbeing. We are working to ‘green’ the city, by planting more trees and protecting and enhancing our parks and open spaces.
Our vision is that transport emissions and air pollution are minimised through sustainable and active travel. Our green streets and open spaces absorb carbon, build climate resilience and improve health and wellbeing.
- encourage sustainable and active travel through the creation of traffic free zones, supporting walking or cycling infrastructure and facilities - for example, cycle storage
- increase the use of electric vehicles through more charging points and stakeholder partnership working to promote a shift to electric public and private vehicles
- reduce Westminster’s contribution to transport emissions outside the city, including through reduced air travel
- develop and promote a local approach that enables Westminster’s organisations and communities to offset their carbon impact and retain project benefits within the borough
- maintain existing tree coverage and look for opportunities to further ‘green’ the city.
- understand the potential impacts of climate change to Westminster and take action to improve local climate resilience and protect vulnerable people, livelihoods, businesses and services
You can read a summary of our recommendations and how they have been produced, or our full action plan, in these documents.