Our response to the climate emergency

In July 2019, Brent Council declared a climate and ecological emergency and committed to do all in its gift to strive for carbon neutrality by 2030. This target is borough-wide, not just council-only emissions, because of how urgent this issue is – and therefore more ambitious goals are required. We are one of only 12 councils in London who have adopted this 2030 target. 

In late 2019, we held the Brent Climate Assembly to understand resident’s priorities. The outcome of these workshops has informed our Strategy for reaching that ambitious goal.

Brent’s Climate & Ecological Emergency Strategy is the culmination of a year of research, review, and engagement with our communities and colleagues. It sets out our proposed priorities and a pathway to carbon zero. You can find out more information about the Strategy and the consultation by clicking the links below.

How will we track progress?

Each year we will publish a delivery plan against which we can track progress. This will set out specific priority actions for the coming 12 months, based on available funding. Good progress has already been made in all five of the areas outlined in Brent’s Climate & Ecological Emergency Strategy.

What have we already done to tackle the climate emergency?

Our Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy has five key themes which are closely aligned to the priorities set out by residents within the Brent Climate Assembly and also align to the Climate Change priorities being pursued across London, putting us in what we believe is the best possible position to tackle the climate and ecological emergency in our borough.

The five strategy themes are:

  • 1) Consumption, resources and waste
  • 2) Transport
  • 3) Homes, Buildings and the Built Environment
  • 4) Nature and Green Space
  • 5) Supporting Communities.

Our progress against each of these in terms of definitive action take is set out below.

Consumption, Resources and Waste

  • Developed and launched a new Procurement Sustainability Policy which mobilises £400m on council spending power in order to radically tackle carbon emissions within the council’s supply chain
  • 150 tonnes of plastic saved by the Plastic Free Wembley campaign, including trialling biodegradable bags, made from potato peels and corn, in Wembley’s litter bins
  • At least 34,586 residents given tailored recycling advice by the Veolia education team
  • Doubled the number of Christmas Trees recycled from 2,000 in 2018/19 to 4,000 the following year with a network of designated drop-off points and a communications campaign
  • In January 2021 we worked with Veolia on a food waste digital campaign which saw the number of caddies ordered increased by a huge 117% over the course of the campaign (compared to the same dates in the previous year) from 332 to 719 caddies ordered
  • 299 brand new bins are being delivered to Brent Council Estates between May and July this year – increasing the capacity for recycling in the first phase of this project
  • In the process of delivering internal food waste caddies to council estates – as the first phase of our plans to offer an internal food waste caddies to any resident living in flats (communal buildings of over 8 people) in 2021-22 

Transport 

  • Over 115 charging points for electric vehicles installed across the borough, with 390 more due to be delivered this year;
  • Approximately 50 bike hangars installed in the borough, with 50 more planned for 2021-22
  • 553 adults and 2,942 children received free cycle training in the last year
  • Implemented 33 School Street trials, where the roads around a school are closed to traffic during drop off and pick up times to limit toxic emissions - the third highest number of all London boroughs
  • Five Healthy Neighbourhoods (Low Traffic Neighbourhoods) implemented, with plans for a further five more following in-depth consultation with residents
  • Implemented Harrow Road Pop-Up Cycle Lane
  • Eight roads closed to polluting vehicles for London Car Free Day, with a target to improve on this for London Car Free Day 2021
  • Facilitated a number of local community events for Bike Week 2021
  • Ran an anti-idling campaign which continues to educate motorists about the harmful effect on local air pollution of idling in a car
  • Took the #EnginesOff pledge and introduced new engine idling guidelines for staff and contractors
  • 16% drop in the most polluting cars after changes to parking permits
  • £50 annual diesel surcharge introduced on parking permits to encourage motorists to switch to greener forms of transport and cut air pollution. This will soon increase to £75 and then £100
  • Our contractor Veolia have switched to an entire fleet of electric salt spreaders, the first borough in the UK to do this
  • Awarded £700k funding award from DEFRA to make Willesden a designated Clean Air Village
  • Held our first ever cargo bike trials in Harlesden in partnership with three local organisations, developing three case studies on the impact accordingly
  • In the process of updating the council’s Corporate Travel Plan to embed staff shifts to sustainable travel

Homes and Buildings

  •  In 2020, the council announced that it cut its emissions by 63.7% over the last decade. This exceeds the government’s target and a more robust self-imposed goal which was agreed in 2018 
  • Part of a West London consortium which has secured £4.7m for the region to retrofit homes for those on low incomes in fuel poverty, plus an additional £1m for Brent specifically in the second phase of the project
  • 21,000 LED street lights installed, reducing carbon emissions by 62% while continuing to keep our streets safe
  • Secured £3.2m of funding to improve the energy efficiency of 16 council-owned buildings across our estate in 2021-22
  • At least, 766 solar panels installed through council-supported scheme Solar Together, saving 49 tonnes of carbon each year. So far, 68 accepted installations on properties in phase 4 of the programme in 2021
  • On site for our first home energy retrofit in the council’s own stock – in a void property in Harlesden to develop a zero carbon case study that both owner occupiers and landlords can utilise when considering retrofitting their own properties

Nature and Green Space

  • London-leading wildflower meadows (22 sites) planted to boost biodiversity, making up Brent’s Bee Corridor
  • Dog waste stations are being trialled across Brent and sponsored by eco-green communities. The stations contain biodegradable bags for those rare occasions when a sensible owner leaves their bag at home
  • Delivery of a new beehive and hive of bees as part of the exciting regeneration plans for Carlton Vale Boulevard. Professional training was also provided to five residents on how to become a beekeeper
  • We are continuing to double the number of trees planted in the borough between 2018-2022 as we were able to during 2014-18

Supporting Communities

  • Ran a ‘Green New Year’ comms campaign at the start of the year which reached 218,716 people
  • Launched the Brent Environmental Network which as of August 2021 has over 700 members across Brent who are regularly updated on the latest community initiatives relating to the environment or tackling the climate and ecological emergency
  • Delivered two educational webinars ‘How Travel is Changing to Beat Climate Change’ and 'Food and it's impact' with plans for at least three more webinars on different key topics
  • Delivered five sustainability webinars solely for businesses and the key business sectors in the borough on practical ways for them to improve their carbon footprint
  • 3 days of stalls in Town Centres (Church End, Wembley, Willesden Green) talking to residents about the need for climate action in the borough for London Climate Action Week 2021
  • Recruited of 20 group of cross directorate Eco-Champions at the council to help to drive the agenda internally and lead by example 
  • Expanded the Love Where You Live and Edward Harvist Grants Scheme to include the ability to bid for grants with an environmental sustainability focus
  • Established a Brent School Climate Champions Network to develop a ‘whole school’ approach to tackling the climate emergency across all 87 of Brent’s community schools, 14 schools are currently signed up and are meeting every couple of months
  • All new Brent Council job descriptions have been amended to include a new emphasis on duties towards environmental sustainability
  • Worked with Veolia on the Launch of the Veolia Sustainability Fund
  • Worked with the Veolia on the launch of applications for a new community cookbook – showcasing the best recipes which either utilise leftovers and reduce food waste, or are plant-based. Both are which are sustainability focused
  • Established a planning group of residents to take part in the council's first participatory budgeting exercise for the council's Carbon Offset Fund