Sustainable Merton is delighted to welcome Alan Maries to its board of trustees. With a professional background in assessing the impacts of local planning developments, and having been a Wimbledon resident for more than 40 years, here, Alan shares his views on Merton's response to the Climate Emergency and how we can reduce emissions from our building stock to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Blog by Alan Maries
Sustainable Merton Trustee
After Merton announced a Climate Emergency in July 2019, the Council established a Climate Action Strategy and Action Plan with the objective of becoming a carbon-neutral Borough by 2050. Because the energy used to heat and power buildings throughout the Borough accounts for around 81% of total carbon emissions, the Plan has very ambitious aims to reduce emissions from residential and commercial buildings. It goes beyond National and London Plan policies for new developments, and extends current targets for major building schemes to minor residential schemes, which form 90% of new build.
All buildings in Merton will need to operate at net-zero carbon emissions. They must therefore have high levels of energy efficiency and insulation to minimise demand, and be powered by 100% renewable energy rather than by burning fossil fuels. All occupants should take steps now to reduce energy consumption within the home, by turning down the heating, not overfilling the kettle and switching off appliances. Low-cost additions such as draft excluders or reflective radiator panels, fitting LED lights and a thermostat could make considerable energy savings, as could installing energy efficient appliances and smart meters. Existing gas boilers will have to be replaced with alternative low carbon energy sources like heat pumps and solar photo-voltaic panels.
New development must also be fit for the future, given that an estimated 29,000 new dwellings could be built in Merton between 2021 and 2050. The transition to low carbon heating requires high levels of insulation, and minimum Fabric Energy Efficiency Standards will be established for new builds. Gas boilers will be banned in new developments from January 2023.
The Council want participation in climate action to spread into every corner of Merton to reduce carbon emissions, and have set up a Climate Action Group whose first meeting will be held on 27th January. This will provide a forum for residents, businesses and organisations from all parts of the Borough, and all walks of life, to use their combined resources, skills and expertise to find shared solutions to tackling climate change.
Learn about Merton Council's detailed proposals and justification for their policies HERE.