What can residents do?

Climate change


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Homes are the biggest source of carbon emissions in the borough. The Council is already working to improve the energy efficiency of its Council housing stock to help reduce carbon emissions.  

Other residents in the borough can investigate the suitability of a range of energy efficiency improvements and renewable technologies within their properties. The Energy Saving Trust is a good source of advice and information on the types of measures which might be suitable.

Both the building owner and all affected occupiers have to approve any energy efficiency improvements before they can go ahead. In the case of flats, all households and the building owner need to give permission for measures that affect the whole building. The permission of the Council or housing association will be required before their tenants can make improvements to properties.

The following support is available:

  • Renewable Heat Incentive: Certain renewable installations may be eligible for the Renewable Heat Incentive, which is due to end in March 2021. You can find out more from Ofgem and The Energy Saving Trust 
  • HEET support: Residents who receive benefits or are over 60 may be eligible for free support from HEET (Home Energy Efficiency Training). More information on this support and advice on reducing your energy bills
  • Energy company obligation (ECO) funding: You may qualify for help with insulation or other energy efficiency measures dependent on the type of property that you live in, where it is located and if you are on certain benefits. Contact your energy provider for more information.
  • GLA Warmer Homes Grant: The GLA Warmer Homes scheme is also due to relaunch later this year. This provides grants for Londoners on benefits for new boilers, insulation, double glazing or other improvements to help you heat your home more affordably. Find out more

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 starts. For advice about single houses, guidance is available from our duty planning officer service on 020 8496 3000. See the General planning guidance.

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

Electric vehicle charging pointsResidents 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 where possible, and using electric vehicles.

The following support is available:

  • Cycle Confident: Free cycle training sessions and ‘Dr Bike’ bike maintenance sessions can be booked here.
  • Enjoy Waltham Forest funding: Community groups can apply for funding for projects which encourage residents to get out and about walking and cycling more. The current funding round is now closed however the fund will be relaunched later this year. Find out more.
  • OLEV grants: The Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) has a number of grants available to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles. This includes an Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme as well as a plug-in vehicle grant

Discover 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 and improve the quality of life for yourself, your family and others. 

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:

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

  • 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. 
  • Friends of Parks: Join or establish a local 'Friends of Parks' group and work with the Council's Parks and Open spaces team to create better open spaces.
  • 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 on the website. Residents 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 .
  • Grow your own food either in your gardens or allotment
  • Join a Green Gym
  • Support the Biodiversity Action Team East: volunteer in parks and open spaces
  • 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 soft landscaping and less hard surfacing in your gardens and driveways can cumulatively make a big impact on reducing surface water run-off.

  • Include ‘green infrastructure’: this could be green roofs, green walls, and other soft 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.

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 to reduce overheating in buildings.