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Priorities, consultation and inclusivity

We commissioned Element Energy to prepare an evidence base to support the development of this Carbon Neutral Plan. The Evidence Base modelling projected what likely future emissions would be without any action added to what we're already doing (the baseline scenario). They then explored how far the borough could reduce emissions by 2030 under a radical ‘maximum ambition’ scenario. Under this scenario, the Council could reduce its emissions by up to 87% depending on the emissions associated with electricity generation.

Rapid changes

The pace of change required to meet a 2030 carbon neutral target is very rapid and goes beyond national targets, though is aligned with the target for London. There are significant policy-based, financial, technological and social challenges associated with the pursuit of a fast transition to carbon neutral as a local authority and progress in Royal Greenwich will always be partly dependent on decisions made at regional and national level.

As part of Element Energy’s work, they drew up a long-list of policy options available to drive change. The investment required from both the public and private sectors to reach close to carbon neutral by 2030 is estimated to be £1.6 billion over the 10 years to 2030. 

This includes spending on heating system conversions and energy efficiency improvement works on housing (approximately £350m for council housing only) and other buildings (approximately £25m for public sector buildings), electric and low emissions vehicles along with vehicle charging points and wider transport infrastructure (significantly over £80m). Even with these large-scale changes, significant emissions would remain unless the national electricity grid fully decarbonised by 2030.

Your feedback on the draft Carbon Neutral Plan

In winter 2020 and spring 2021, the Council carried out an online consultation on the draft Carbon Neutral Plan and hosted online events with residents, selected businesses and other organisations, to gather feedback, comments and suggestions on our Climate Change agenda. Key finding of the consultation with implications for the plan (either based on demographics of the 450 respondents or content of responses) are in the table below:

  Key Findings  Adjustments to Carbon Neutral Plan actions and new actions
1 Engagement from people in social and private-rented housing, and young people, was relatively low.  Specific focus on engaging this sector, particularly with respect to achieving home energy efficiency and reducing energy bills.
2 A high proportion of respondents (one third) explicitly stated they are not intending to take some simple cost-effective steps to reduce energy consumption. A need for reliable information about savings, support and reliable contractors was also wanted. Explore how to engage in partnerships with energy efficiency advice providers to reach more people with clear, targeted information to address these issues.3
3 The draft CNP’s Waste and Circular Economy plans were the section of the plan that received the most support. There was significant demand to recycle more.

Explore inclusion of specific actions to expand and/or publicise recycling opportunities through council services and/or partnership with voluntary or private sector including:

  • small electrical devices
  • batteries
  • plastic film
  • hard plastics
  • textiles.

Respondents expressed specific interest in waste reduction and circular economy opportunities such as:

  • Opportunities to repair more (rather than dispose)
  • Community exchange events, online exchange schemes and hire schemes
  • A re-usable nappy project
  • Food waste reduction.
Explore partnership opportunities to address these interests more vigorously, with council services and/or voluntary and private sector. Example - Greenwich Library is now exploring the possibility of adding a tool-lending service to its book-lending service.

There was substantial support for specific actions to further advance the sustainability of Greenwich’s natural environment, including:

  • food growing in public green spaces
  • reduced grass-cutting
  • transition to electrical machinery (from petrol/diesel)
  • advice and support for keeping gardens green and avoiding hard landscaping. 

Develop/continue improvements to parks management aligned to these needs.

Develop partnerships around defining and providing information on garden management and reducing hard landscaping.

6 The Council leading the way was a potentially significant driver of engagement in actions to tackle climate change.

Explore how internal communications and training can help drive increasingly effective integration of climate-conscious actions in Council activity. 

Continue to focus on how external communications can help demonstrate Council commitment to tackling climate change increasingly strongly and help foster interest and action in the community.

7 Responses from organisations (rather than individuals) were rare, outside of our dedicated event for local organisations. (11 respondents)  Seek to utilise existing partnerships to increase engagement tackling climate change collaboratively, where partnership working can accelerate progress

Equalities impact assessment implications

We commissioned an Equalities Assessment of the draft Carbon Neutral Plan, in order to help optimise the social impacts of the Plan and improve the quality of outcomes through increasing awareness of social dimensions of the actions. Broadly, the assessment endorsed many existing actions and proposed actions as having a positive impact on equalities, particularly with respect to health (including warm homes and exercise), reducing costs (especially food and energy) and tackling fuel poverty. It also advised on adjusting details of how actions are delivered to address social inequality. 

  Key findings Implications

There is a significant opportunity to tackle fuel poverty through home energy efficiency promotion in priority households:

  • people on low incomes
  • people from ethnic minority backgrounds
  • people who are disabled.
Identify key Greenwich organisations to work with to ensure there is a focus on these groups in promoting home energy efficiency.
2 There is a significant opportunity to promote healthier lifestyles, linked to reduced car use, which could target priority disadvantaged areas and where air quality is worst. Strengthen partnership working between Public Health and Transport Planning in Greenwich, and further integrate healthy lifestyle messages in Royal Greenwich’s transport outreach work with schools. 
3 Post Covid-19 there might be continued reluctance to use public transport, with knock-on implications for increased car use, and particularly among specific demographic groups. Monitor this situation in partnership with TfL, Southeastern and other London transport providers, with a focus on Royal Greenwich’s services, and plan targeted communications accordingly, in line with risks and benefits. Royal Greenwich’s wider transport work programme will be targeting this issue also.
4 Crime and fear of crime could be another deterrent to reducing car use, particularly in higher crime areas. Be conscious of this issue in design and communication about new transport schemes, with a more intense focus on schemes which influence transport to, from and through Royal Greenwich’s higher crime areas and/or where we know fear of crime is relatively high. The Thamesmead and Abbey Wood Opportunity Area Planning Framework, is an example of where these issues have been identified/addressed.
5 Groups with restricted mobility (disabled, elderly, families with very young children) could be adversely affected by restrictions on car use/parking. Be conscious of this issue in design and communication about new transport schemes throughout the borough.
6 Positive engagement with the circular economy section of the draft CNP was lower among older people, younger people and men. Identify key organisations in Royal Greenwich to help target these protected characteristics when seeking to increase recycling rates and explaining the benefits of recycling.
7 There was high (74%) agreement with the statement ‘maintenance of paths in our parks should be improved to make them more walking, cycling and wheelchair friendly’. The Council’s Parks team to continue to look at cost-effective opportunities to improve this, in partnership with the community – including with Friends of Parks groups.
8 Benefits of more green space and creation of habitats are very high and can be maximised through creative approaches.  Seek to more-tightly integrate opportunities for green space and habitat creation in the development of Royal Greenwich’s new local plan, associated documents and enforcement of planning policies, and through design of new transport schemes in the borough Greenwich, including increase of street trees.
9 Effective information provision to prompt behaviour change is a priority challenge, requiring focused attention with protected characteristic groups.  

This is a theme that needs to be integrated into actions designed to achieve behaviour change. 


Marketing/promotion/communication of behaviour change opportunities and sustainability choices needs to consider specifically protected characteristic groups and (where relevant) take account of the varying demographics of different parts of Royal Greenwich.

10 CNP actions can generate jobs and local economic activity. These could target protected characteristic groups (in particular people from ethnic minority backgrounds, young people and people who are disabled). Integrate this principle in developing all actions that generate economic activity, and in doing so, consider Royal Greenwich’s demographics and the varying economic needs of local communities the borough.