What is the Council doing?

Climate change

To create a cleaner more energy efficient and resilient Waltham Forest, we have various strategies and action plans in place.

Climate Emergency Click to get info

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a powerful report that shows the shocking truth about the effects of climate change. The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there are only 12 years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5°C. After that, a rise of even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, and poverty for hundreds of millions of people across the globe.

On Thursday 25 April 2019 at a Full Council meeting, the council agreed to declare a “Climate Emergency”. This commits Waltham Forest to launching a new Climate Change Strategy, establishing a Climate Change Commission to help shape the local response to this global challenge, and calling on the UK Government to provide the necessary powers and resources to make local action on climate change easier.

Read Waltham Forest Council’s full climate emergency declaration.

The Council and its partners, including businesses and voluntary organisations, fed into the borough’s Climate Change Strategy in 2009 as part of the Council's ambition to be the greenest borough in London.

The strategy sets out how we would take action on climate change in Waltham Forest, and reflects the views that were gathered from residents and other stakeholders. We all need to adapt to the changes to the climate that we are already seeing, and make big reductions in our energy use to limit future changes. The strategy aimed to reduce the borough’s carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

Climate Local Click to get info

Climate Local is the Local Government Association’s (LGA) initiative to capture the opportunities and benefits of taking action on climate change.  This includes actions to reduce carbon emissions (for example: increasing energy efficiency of our buildings), actions to increase resilience to climate change (for example: retrofitting Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems), and actions which promote low carbon industries and protect our natural environment. 

The Council signed the Climate Local Commitment in October 2012 in recognition of the important role that local authorities have in tackling climate change. In signing the Commitment we pledged to set locally-owned and determined targets and actions on both mitigation and adaptation and then publish these. The actions are led by various project leads across the Council and community partners and have included actions on building energy efficiency, green spaces, transport, waste reduction, managing flood risk, and more.

Some of the key achievements under our previous Climate Local Action Plan include:

  • The borough saw a 43% reduction in per-capita carbon emissions and a 32% reduction in total carbon emissions between 2005/06 and 2016/17
  • The Council reduced energy consumption (kwh) of the Council’s corporate building stock by 8.7% between 2012/13 and 2017/18.
  • The Council took part in the DECC funded “SMART Homes” project (in partnership with five other London boroughs), which completed energy improvement works to 296 homes in the borough. This equates to over £2.3m invested into energy efficiency retrofit in homes. The measures implemented are saving an estimated 317.76 tonnes of carbon per year. 
  • The Council delivered, in partnership with three London boroughs, the £1m ERDF funded Retrofit London project, offering training to installer companies to support them to become accredited installers under the PAS 2030 scheme. 10 SMEs within Waltham Forest received direct support from the project.
  • There has been strong third sector delivery on sustainability programmes with local businesses and residents. The partners include Home Energy Efficiency Training (HEET), Hornbeam Environmental Network, Organiclea and Forest Recycling Project (FRP):
    • Between 2013/14 and 2017/18, 1,973 energy saving measures were installed by HEET in fuel poor households, helping to improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel bills, saving an estimated 986.3kg CO2 annually.
    • The Hornbeam Low Cost Living Project was delivered, providing workshops and events on low cost and low environmental impact living.
    • Organiclea continues to produce locally grown and sustainable produce at the Hawkswood growing site, selling to local residents through twice-weekly markets and a local veg-box scheme.
  • Two decentralised energy networks have been built in the borough at Wood Street South and Blackhorse Lane.  Once completed the Blackhorse Lane heat network will deliver heating and hot water to over 1,500 homes across four private developments.

A new Action Plan is being drafted under the new Climate Change Strategy review. The Council have committed to publishing annual reports under this new action plan so that people can see what the Council and its partners are doing to tackle climate change.

The Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 (HECA) recognises local authorities’ ability to use their position to improve the energy efficiency of all the residential accommodation (such as owner-occupied, privately rented and social housing) in their areas.

In July 2012 the government (Department for Energy and Climate Change [DECC] - now the  Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy [BEIS]), published a requirement under HECA for all local authorities in England to report on the measures they propose to take to achieve this aim from March 2013.

Progress reports are required at two year intervals. Our 2019 report will be published soon.

Air Quality Action Plan Click to get info

More than 51,000 households in Waltham Forest are no longer living in areas with dangerously high levels of air pollution compared to a decade ago.  Changes in local streets and neighbourhoods support more active lifestyles for adults and children. Energy efficiency improvements and changes to the way we heat our buildings also have positive impacts on air quality, as well as reducing carbon emissions.

The Council has been monitoring air quality across the borough since 1993 and reporting this annually. In addition the Council has recently published its Air Quality Action Plan for 2018-2023. Find out more.

Enjoy Waltham Forest Click to get info

Since 2015 the award winning Enjoy Waltham Forest programme, funded by the Mayor of London and TfL, has re-prioritised the borough’s roads to encourage more walking and cycling and improve road safety by delivering a number of physical interventions across the borough.  This includes new road filters for motor vehicles, part-time road closures, the construction of segregated cycle lanes, improved pedestrian crossings, creation of new pocket parks, installation of secure bike hangars, and tree planting. Other interventions include 20mph speed limits on most residential roads and some main routes, free cycle skills training, and bike hire to encourage more people to cycle regularly.

These measures help to deliver the Mayor of London’s aim to make London’s streets healthier.  Research shows that if every Londoner walked or cycled for 20 minutes a day, it would save the NHS £1.7bn in treatment costs over the next 25 years. A recent report has highlighted the impact that the scheme has already had on health and wellbeing: more than 40 per cent of adults reported that they walked five times a week, making our residents the keenest walkers in the capital behind City of London.

Further information about the Enjoy Waltham Forest scheme.

The Council is dedicated to enabling people to convert to zero emission vehicles to help reduce transport emissions and to promote more sustainable forms of transport. Electric Vehicles (EVs) have no tailpipe emissions and can contribute significantly to improving air quality. They also produce lower carbon emissions compared to petrol and diesel vehicles.

More information

Planning Policy Click to get info

The Council manages the impact of development on carbon emissions and the environment through its Development Management Policies. This also includes a requirement for any new homes forming part of major developments to be ‘zero carbon’.

You can find more information here.

Housing Strategy Click to get info

Our Housing Strategy outlines the work the Council will be doing over the next 5 years to ensure that our residents have a decent roof over their heads. As well as building new homes, we will be investing in our existing homes with a £60m improvement programme, including 1400 new central heating systems. We are focusing on improving standards in the private rented sector, including promoting and enforcing the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards set by Government.

As part of the Housing Strategy, the Council operates a Private Rented Property Licensing Scheme. This includes guidance on standards for private rented property expected from privately rented homes. The guidance is aimed at houses and self-contained flats occupied by a single household. It covers reasonable standards including repairs and provides information regarding space standards and housing hazards. Additional requirements apply to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and buildings containing flats.

Further information about the Private Rented Property Licensing scheme.

Flood Risk Management Click to get info

The Council has mapped the flood risk in the borough and is managing potential flooding impacts from new buildings through planning Development Management Policies

The new Waltham Forest Local Plan will be the successor the Development Management Policies and will provide the planning policy framework for considering planning applications.

This page provides information on the council's Local Plan documents, Supplementary Planning Documents and other supporting documents:

Further information can also be found on the Council’s Emergency Planning webpage.

The parks and green spaces in our Borough are fundamental to our ability to enjoy a good quality of life, support biodiversity and adapt to climate change. The Council is developing an Open Space Strategy and is continually working to improve our parks and open spaces. More information.

Find out more about the Council’s responsibility for trees in the borough and view Waltham Forest’s Tree Strategy 2017-22