What can businesses do?

Climate change


Businesses in the borough can investigate the suitability of a range of energy efficiency improvements and renewable technologies within their premises. The Energy Saving Trust and the Carbon Trust are good starting points for information on the types of measures which may be suitable and funding that may be available.  

Both the building owner and all affected occupiers have to approve any energy efficiency improvements before they can go ahead.

The following support is available:

  • Renewable Heat Incentive: Certain renewable installations may be eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
  • Cleaner Heat Cashback Scheme: SMEs in London with older, inefficient heating systems may be eligible for 30 to 40 per cent cashback when replacing with newer, cleaner systems through the Mayor’s Cleaner Heat Cashback scheme. 
  • The Mayor’s Energy Efficiency Fund:  The Mayor’s Energy Efficiency Fund (MEEF) provides loan funding for a range of energy efficiency works and renewable technologies. This is particularly suitable for larger organisations considering large scale retrofit works. 
  • Salix: Schools and public sector organisations may also be able to access funding through Salix.

Planning Permission: Listed building consent or other planning approvals may be required for some energy efficiency works and renewable installations. If required, these must be obtained before works start. For advice about single houses, guidance is available from our duty planning officer service on 020 8496 3000. General planning guidance.

Building regulation approval may also be required for works to ensure buildings remain safe after works. Read more or contact Building Control services on 0208 496 6761/2/3 or at building.control@walthamforest.gov.uk.

Businesses can contribute to reduced carbon emissions and improved air quality in the borough by switching to more sustainable forms of transport, such as walking and cycling or using pool cars for business travel, and using electric vehicles and cargo bikes for deliveries where possible

The following support is available:

  • Travel Planning: The Council offers free advice to help businesses and schools in Waltham Forest develop travel plans for employees and students. Travel Plans aim to increase efficiency, reduce emissions, and improve health and safety. 
  • Zero Emissions Delivery Scheme: Businesses can reduce their impact from deliveries by signing up to the Zero Emissions Delivery Scheme. Using a bike-based courier service also allows businesses to receive deliveries quickly from across the borough.
  • Cycle Confident: Free cycle training sessions and ‘Dr Bike’ bike maintenance sessions can be booked here.
  • Cycle Grants: Cycle Grants is funded by Transport for London and administered by Groundwork and can provide grants up to £10,000 over 3 years to projects encouraging London’s diverse communities to cycle more often and safely. Check your eligibility 
  • OLEV grants: The Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) has a number of grants available to encourage use of electric vehicles. This includes a Workplace Charging Scheme as well as a plug-in vehicle grant

Find information on charge points in the borough and our Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy.

Read more advice on what you can do to help reduce pollution levels.

Changing consumption habits can also have an impact on emissions, for example buying locally to reduce transport miles, or reusing and recycling rather than throwing things away.

Things you could do

  • Recycle more: More information on the Council’s recycling and waste collection service, plus incentives to recycle is available here and here
  • Become a Low Plastic Business: The Council, in partnership with the North London Waste Authority, are working with local businesses to establish a Low Plastic Zone. Businesses can sign up to a Charter of Commitment to reduce one of 6 main customer-facing plastics from their operations, in order to be named a Low Plastic Business. Further information.

Below are a number of ways you can help make the borough more resilient to the impacts of climate change:

  • Flood advice: Review the advice and support to residents and businesses in the event of flooding.
  • Sign up to the Environment Agency’s (EA) ‘Key Messages’ service: Once signed up you will receive information and updates during major and significant pollution incidents. You can sign up here. You can also report any incidents using the EA’s Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60 (Freephone*, 24 hour service), and follow the EA on Twitter for updates . #
  • Business Continuity advice: In the event of a major incident or emergency, we provide advice on business continuity management to help local businesses and voluntary organisations to avoid serious disruptions.
  • Incorporate Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems: Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) slow down the rate at which rainwater enters the drainage network, or can remove it altogether by rerouting and draining away rainwater into the ground. This prevents surface water flooding and pressure on the drainage network during big storms. SUDS can also provide other amenity and environmental benefits too. Susdrain provide free guidance on SUDS.

Simply including more landscaping and less hard surfacing outside your premises can cumulatively make a big impact on reducing surface water run-off, whilst also making the area more attractive.

  • Include ‘green infrastructure’: this could be green roofs, green walls, and other landscaping features. Green infrastructure not only helps reduce rainwater run off but it can help reduce the urban heat island effect and provide cooling benefits, as well as air quality and biodiversity benefits and generally improve the quality of the environment.
  • Adopt a flowerbed: improve the quality of your local environment and help tackle climate change by adopting flower beds in public areas, parks and open spaces.

Retrofit measures to reduce overheating and increase energy efficiency: this could include installing shading externally and internally, reducing heat losses from inefficient appliances, and improving the efficiency of ventilation and cooling systems. The Energy Saving Trust and the Carbon Trust provide further information on measures for reduce overheating in buildings.