Climate Emergency Commission

Climate change

In April 2019, at a Full Council meeting, the council declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committed to launching a Commission “to help shape our local response to this global challenge and to produce a set of policy ‘asks’ for our regional and national politicians”.

The Climate Emergency Commission

The Waltham Forest Climate Emergency Commission met regularly through 2019 and with the knowledge gained from the Climate Emergency Survey in 2019 - over 3,000 residents and 1,400 young people took part - have made recommendations on how the Council, with partners, can work towards a more sustainable future.

The Commission comprises of experts from across the energy, waste and environmental sectors to bring their knowledge and expertise to help the Council in our next phase of tackling the climate emergency.

The Commission's report will inform the Council’s Climate Emergency Strategy and make recommendations for how, as a borough, we can work together with businesses, residents, schools and partners to tackle a global issue in a local context. 

Read the Waltham Forest Climate Emergency Commission: Call to action

Commission Members

Syed Ahmed, Energy for London (Co-Chair)

Lucy Padfield, Ramboll and Waltham Forest resident (Co-Chair)

Simeran Bachra, CDP

Toby Bancroft, Woodland Trust

Wayne Hubbard, London Waste and Recycling Board

Brian Kelly, OrganicLea

Laurie Laybourn-Langton, IPPR

Dr Paula Owen, Green Gumption

Tom Ruxton, The HEET Project

Mark Watts, C40

To get in touch with the Climate Emergency Commission team or ask a question, please email

Download the Climate Emergency Terms of Reference

We want to keep you up to date on the work of the Climate Emergency Commission, what the council is doing in response to the Climate Emergency and how you can get involved.

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Syed Ahmed has close to 20 years working in the sustainable energy industry in a wide variety of roles and organisations ranging from Friends of the Earth, the Combined Heat and Power Association, the Greater London Authority, Arup, and as a director of a trade association working in the insulation sector. Syed established Energy for London, a research and campaigning organisation supporting London's progress to becoming a low-carbon city.

Syed’s recent work has included a review for Government on their demand side energy policies, as well as reports on urban energy issues for the Green Investment Bank, opportunities for a London municipal energy company for the London Green Party and London’s potential for solar for Greenpeace. Syed is currently the policy advisor to the Green Gas Certification Scheme, which supports the renewable gas industry.

Syed is a Director of the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group (PRASEG), a Trustee for national fuel poverty organisation National Energy Action (NEA), a Board member of the Solar Trade Association. In 2017 Syed helped establish Community Energy London, where he is currently the Chair, and was appointed by the Mayor of London as a Commissioner of the London Sustainable Development Commission.


Lucy Padfield’s specialism is in initiating and implementing complex and challenging carbon-saving delivery projects such as decentralised energy schemes in municipal environments, so direct experience of retrofitting and operating district heating in the UK. She has a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges from reducing energy use and mitigating climate change from emissions from buildings particularly in the public sector. Other projects have included large scale PV and LED lighting retrofits in corporate buildings, depots and leisure estates, to mass insulation programmes of municipal housing stock. She is knowledgeable in UK energy policy, including energy in planning policy at a local and regional level. Lucy is passionate about applying cutting edge innovation, whether smart energy, demand response or secondary heat networks, to solve the current energy trilemma.

She initiated and oversaw the development of Islington Council’s award-winning district heating network programme, from master planning, option appraisal and feasibility stages, to its inception with the construction of the Bunhill Heat and Power network. Phase 2 of the project is a first in Europe, and sees the capture of low-grade waste urban heat from the London Underground into a heat network supplying existing conventional UK housing stock. Her strengths also include optimising technical and economic development to maximise operator and end user benefits eg alleviating fuel poverty. 

Lucy is a widely respected engineer and is Chair the UK's Association of Decentralised Energy as well as their District Heating Forum.






Simeran Bachra serves as the UK manager for CDP’s Cities, States and Regions Team. Prior to this role, Simeran led on CDP cities data, where she led on the development of our data tools and services and the team’s communications outputs. In her current role she is working to support local authorities in the UK in their climate disclosure by providing access to assistance in setting ambitious emission reduction and renewable energy targets and aiming to increase awareness of climate risks and opportunities. To provide increased value to local authorities, Simeran leads the development of new partnerships in the UK to help accelerate climate action.


Toby Bancroft is currently the Regional Director, Central England for the Woodland Trust. He has a background in Environmental Biology and Ecology and experience of both practical delivery of habitat restoration and creation, and experience of working in partnership to deliver real change on the ground.

Working for the Woodland Trust, trees and woods are his focus, and more recently, with the growing recognition of the role they play as part of helping to mitigate climate change, working with partners to try and realise the opportunities around protection, restoring and planting trees.

Toby sits on the Forestry Commission’s Forestry and Woodland Advisory committee.


Wayne Hubbard is the Chief Executive Officer of the London Waste and Recycling Board, where he is responsible for helping London’s boroughs to increase recycling rates and helping to accelerate the development of the circular economy in London. He has been working for LWARB since 2008. Prior to this, he was the Head of Waste Policy at the Greater London Authority. Wayne has over 20 years experience in the waste and resource management industry.


Brian Kelly has worked for Waltham Forest based environmental social enterprises since 2002. He is a founder member of OrganicLea, and also currently sits on the board of three local organisations - Hornbeam Centre, GREEN (Growing Resilient and Energy Efficient Neighbourhoods) and HEET (Home Energy Efficiency Training). He sits on the Waltham Forest Climate Local board and is also a trustee of the London Community Resource Network. Previously he coordinated Forest Recycling Project for 10 years.


Laurie Laybourn-Langton is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), where he leads a major project that explores responses to environmental breakdown. He is also co-author of a forthcoming book on the same topic published by Verso Books. Previously, he was Director of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, co-chair of trustees of Rethinking Economics, and has worked at the House of Lords, the London School of Economics, Oxford University and as an NHS campaigner. He tweets .


Paula Owens is a specialist in environmental sustainability, behavioural change and engagement, staff training, carbon measurement & reporting tools.  She has over two decades of expertise in the environmental sustainability sector.  She has a PhD in climate change atmospheric science from the University of Oxford.  She is also the author of numerous environmentally related publications including a book on the Brent Spar oil platform crisis of the 1990s; numerous energy and carbon research reports commissioned by the UK government; and, more recently, a book on gamification for the sustainability sector.

In 2010 she established her sustainability consultancy, Green Gumption, providing advisory services, employee engagement training courses, research and authorship capacity and online educational and training tools to a wide range of clients. She is also the Founding Director of award-winning eco action games, a social enterprise company that invents and produces innovative and educational, engagement and behaviour change resources disguised as games for all ages.


Tom Ruxton is founder/co-ordinator of HEET (Home Energy Efficiency Training). HEET arose out of the Waltham Forest Local Agenda 21 process and is an award-winning community based not-for-profit fuel poverty organisation working across north-east London. Tom is a long-term Waltham Forest resident and is a Director of a number of other organisations in the borough including:

  • Hornbeam Centre - which runs a number of environmental and social justice projects and campaigns including Green Open Homes.
  • GREEN (Growing Resilient and Energy Efficient Neighbourhoods) which provides a vehicle for community investment and involvement in renewable energy projects.
  • WellComm - a consortium of voluntary sector organisations that, amongst other things, publishes a community newspaper (The Echo) and manages the Central Hub in Russell Road.


Mark Watts has served as Executive Director of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group since December 2013, during which time the organisation has grown from 63 to 94 of world's greatest cities, and from 40 to over 200 staff across the globe. From inception, C40’s mission has been to be a high ambition leadership group, driving the world to avoid dangerous climate change through the actions and leadership of the mayors of the world’s leading cities. In 2016, C40 became the first major organization to insist that a 1.5-degree target was essential rather than aspirational (through its Deadline 2020 program).

Prior to joining C40 Cities, Mark was Director at pioneering engineering and design firm, Arup, and before that was a senior adviser to the Mayor of London, in which role the London Evening Standard described him as “the intellectual force behind Ken Livingstone’s drive to make London a leading light of the battle against global warming."

He reports to C40 Chairperson and Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and C40 Board President, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. He believes that work should be fun, but that there is always time for music, narrowboats, and places you can get to by bicycle. 


The Climate Emergency Commission met for the ninth time on Tuesday 11 August to review the initial recommendations from each of the themed sessions of the Commission in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.