Skip to main content

Our commitment to becoming carbon neutral

Our Climate Action Plan

Our Climate Emergency Action Plan

Westminster has some of the highest carbon emissions and worst air pollution in the UK. In response, we have set an emissions target for the City to reach net zero by 2040.

Our Climate Emergency Action Plan sets out comprehensive actions for reducing carbon emissions across the City, working in partnership with businesses, communities and residents.

Read our new Climate Emergency Action Plan

Co-producing our Action Plan  

Over summer 2021, over 350 people provided feedback on our draft recommendations. We have taken that feedback into account in creating a shared action plan. We have tried to make sure that it is inclusive and reflects the scale and urgency with which we must all act. We recognise that we don’t have all the solutions yet, and we are committed to working with our partners and communities to continually refine our approach.

Our new plan contains 70 actions, including what the Council must do to reduce its own emissions, and what we can do to enable and influence others to act.  

Some highlights include:

  • a raft of measures to make transport more sustainable, including 23km of extra cycle lanes and 500 more EV charging points - Westminster already has more on street charging points than any other borough, and we’ll also be trialling charging points for commercial vans
  • new funding and support to help residents, small businesses and community groups install renewable energy technologies and make energy savings
  • a climate education programme for schools
  • expanding food waste recycling across the borough
  • a sustainable city charter, being developed alongside leading landowners and developers, to help businesses cut emissions

Summary of our Climate Emergency Action Plan

Read the full Climate Emergency Action Plan document:

Document
Climate Emergency Action Plan PDF, 12.24 MB, 52 pages

View an interactive version of the Climate Emergency Action Plan document.

Read a summary of the key actions set out in the plan below.

A new large boiler being installed by a crane on a housing estate

Westminster is densely populated with 114 people per hectare – almost double the London average.

The city is home to 121,000 residential properties and 55,000 businesses, ranging from large multi-national organisations to small and micro businesses. Collectively, Westminster’s buildings account for 86% of emissions – by far the most significant source in the city.

Our main priority is to improve building efficiency and deliver energy cost savings.

Some of our main actions are:

  • by 2040, upgrade our social housing estate, targeting an average Energy Performance Certificate Band B rating
  • by 2022, cut emissions from our corporate estate by retrofitting up to 70 properties, targeting 20% emissions reductions
  • in 2022, establish a dedicated online platform for residents to provide information and advice on climate change, energy efficiency and wider sustainability opportunities
  • by 2023, launch an expanded 'Green Homes’ advice service to provide direct support to residents, prioritising the vulnerable and those in fuel poverty, to help improve the energy efficiency of their homes and cut energy costs
  • lobby central Government for further resource to support wholescale retrofitting of Westminster’s buildings
Solar panels

The high energy demand of Westminster’s dense built environment makes the city a prime location for local, decentralised, low carbon energy networks. It also offers significant potential for emissions savings through the expansion of alternative, clean energy sources. 

Our main priority is to increase availability, affordability and use of low and zero carbon energy

Some of our main actions are:

  • in 2022, develop and agree a Clean Energy Strategy for the Pimlico District Heat Undertaking (PDHU), and for our social housing estate by 2023
  • by 2030, deliver our PDHU and social housing estate Clean Energy Strategies, achieving significant carbon savings
  • by 2023, undertake a feasibility assessment of clean and renewable energy opportunities across Westminster to inform a Local Area Energy Plan, enabling local low carbon energy expansion
  • mobilise funding and support to enable residents, organisations, and local communities to install and use renewable energy technologies
  • lobby Government to mobilise funding for the decarbonisation and expansion of local low carbon heat networks, enabling a transition from natural gas to low carbon (electrified) heat sources
Electric vehicle green sign

Over 250,000 tonnes of carbon are produced by transport in Westminster – around 12% of the city’s total emissions.

On-road transport is the largest source, as well as presenting significant health risks as a major contributor to local air pollution. Reducing motor traffic provides an opportunity for both environmental and health benefits.

Our main priority is to cut transport-based sources of emissions and air pollution

Some of our main actions are:

  • deliver a rolling programme of cycling improvements across the city to improve and connect to the London-wide Cycleways network, including 23km of new additional cycle lanes between 2024-26
  • by 2022, expand the roll-out of EV charging infrastructure to 1,500 charge points in total across the city, including 30 additional rapid chargers for delivery vehicles, maintaining a long-term ratio of one EV charge point to 7-8 electric vehicle across all wards
  • in 2022 deliver charging infrastructure at our Landmann Way Depot to enable electrification of Westminster’s waste fleet vehicles, powered by Westminster’s own waste, upgrading the residential waste vehicle fleet (40 vehicles) to electric by 2022 and the remaining, commercial waste fleet by 2025
  • expand the availability of and access to car clubs in the city, ensuring all car club vehicles are fully electric by 2030
Vegetables

The City of Westminster generates almost 200,000 tonnes of municipal waste per year (2018/19), with an above average amount of waste per person.

Our consumption emissions, those linked to purchased products and services rather than direct activities, are above the London average, and among the highest emissions per resident in the capital.

Our main priority is to reduce waste, increase recycling, and promote sustainable consumption

Some of our main actions are:

  • in 2022, adopt and implement our new Responsible Procurement Strategy to cut supply chain emissions, prioritising those from our top 10 highest-spend contracts, and bring together suppliers, partners, and our business community to share our learning and promote the approach
  • maintain our first-class refuse collection service while exploring new approaches to sustainable, low carbon waste management, by:
    • expanding the residential food waste collection across the whole borough in 2022
    • replacing some household non-recycling waste collections with additional recycling and food waste collections
    • improving our data on recycling trends, trialling new technologies, innovations and behaviour change techniques
    • expanding our recycling streams to include soft plastics by 2026/27
  • by 2022, develop a Green Economy Strategy to help accelerate the transition to a low carbon circular economy
Victoria Embankment Gardens

Westminster is home to some of the UK’s most famous and well-known parks and green spaces, comprising some 200 open spaces (both public and private) across the city.

Green spaces, trees and other natural features have a significant role in acting as a carbon “sink” to remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere and play an important role in supporting biodiversity and improving air quality.

Our main priority is to enhance the natural environment and ensure the city is resilient to climate change impacts

Some of our main actions are:

  • maintain, plant, and protect our trees to support a long-term increase in tree canopy cover, targeting a 10% increase of existing cover by 2050, in line with Greater London Authority targets
  • inspire residents, communities, and organisations to increase tree planting on private land in support of the ‘Queen’s Green Canopy’ campaign for the Platinum Jubilee in 2022
  • by 2023, undertake an assessment of Westminster's green and open spaces to inform a Green Infrastructure Strategy
  • by 2023, develop a Climate Adaptation Plan, based on an understanding of climate-related risks, and local and national climate adaptation activity, to protect Westminster’s vulnerable people, businesses, services, assets and green spaces from changes in climate and extreme weather events

Next steps on collaboration

We will establish a Westminster Climate and Air Quality Alliance to help implement our Action Plan, including shaping our approach, working to collectively facilitate and drive action on the ground, and evaluating overall progress.

Links to other policies 

Our Climate Emergency Action Plan is primarily focused on actions to reduce Greenhouse Gases, but interlinks closely with a range of other Council policies on connected areas, including: 

The Climate Emergency Action Plan also forms a key vehicle for the delivery of the Cleaner and Greener pillar within our City for All strategy 2021-22.