Sustainable Merton’s Annual General Meeting on 11th February was well attended, with around 40 members & supporters joining us at the event.
The business matters were quickly despatched and after a brief pause for refreshments the meeting was treated to six short presentations around the general theme of December’s Paris Climate talks. While the actual agreement reached has limitations in its efficacy, an extremely positive step was taken when all the UN nations around the world accepted the existence of climate change and the need to set targets to restrict global warming.
David Cotton (author of Climate Change a Wake Up Call) spoke about what individuals can achieve towards reducing carbon emissions by adapting their behaviour.
Leroy Straker outlined Circle Housing Merton Priory’s regeneration plans in the borough, which aims to provide more housing designed to reduce energy consumption and incorporating a variety of sustainability initiatives (eg Community Heat & Power schemes, ground source heat pumps, solar PV, Sustainable Urban Drainage System features etc) within pleasant green spaces. Three estates will benefit from a multi-million pound investment programme: High Path, Ravensbury and Eastfields.
Agamemnon Otero talked about the work of local co-operative Repowering London in developing community energy on three estates in Brixton and one in Hackney. These achievements have been recognised through the award of MBEs to Agamemmnon and his colleague Afsheen Kabir Rashid. Installing solar PV panels on the roofs of blocks of flats has provided training and employment for residents and the income generated is allocated to community projects chosen by the residents who are the chief investors in the scheme.
Damian Hemmings outlined Merton Council’s plans for decentralised energy systems, following in the footsteps of other developments in Islington (at Bunhill in 2012), Nottingham and Bristol. He identified some “opportunity areas” in the borough where new building plans in densely populated areas might enable local energy supply systems to be built. Applications to DECC will seek grant funding for deiialed feasibility studies.
Mike Morris, Sustainable Merton Chair of Trustees, talked about the challenges and opportunities which come with proposals for a CrossRail 2 hub in Wimbledon town centre. Recipients of Sustainable Merton’s newsletter will be invited to express their views in a survey to be sent out shortly.
Tom Walsh, Sustainable Merton CEO, highlighted the role of grassroots organisations, such as Sustainable Merton, in finding solutions to meet the challenges arising from climate change.Our forthcoming Community Champions scheme will be an important vehicle in encouraging local people to respond to these global issues through local actions.
“The evening was a real success and we thank our speakers for their great input. We were delighted by the turnout and feel that guests took away thought-provoking information about the importance of local action”