Agenda item

Update on COP26

To receive a verbal update on recent government policy and spending announcements in respect of COP26 (COP stands for Conference of the Parties, and the summit will be attended by the countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty that came into force in 1994).


RECEIVED an overview on COP26 from Dominic Millen, Head of Climate Action and Sustainability.


The following information was noted:


A. COP26 - is the Annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference, which includes the Conference of Parties. It  started in 1995 so this was the 26th edition.


B.  The focus of the Conference was looking at progress since the Paris Agreement in 2016 which aimed to keep the rise in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius, ideally less than 1.5.  Negotiations took place between government officials, political representatives and heads of state with a particular focus on adaptation and resilience, alongside mitigation measures which led to an agreement called the “Glasgow Climate Pact”.  The key elements of the Pact were:


·         Unabated” coal power to be phased down and “inefficient subsidies” for fossil fuels removed.

·         Nations urged to set new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2022.

·         No climate reparations but there should be support for a just transition and adaptation.

International carbon trading should deliver “real, verified and additional” emissions removals.

C.  Government Net Zero Strategy - to be implemented by 2050, with the UK leading global race and “green and growth” theme. 4 main principals include: biggest polluters pay most, deep cost reductions in low carbon tech, most vulnerable are protected by the government and consumer choice is retained.


D.  There are various pathways to achieving this including entirely “clean” electricity and increased hydrogen production. Oil and gas sector to be regulated to reduce emissions. Carbon capture technologies enhanced and UK Emissions Trading Scheme established to be set up..


E.  For buildings there is an ambition that no new gas boilers will be sold by 2035, with support for heat pumps as a low carbon alternative.


F.  There is a 2030 commitment to end fossil fuel vehicle sales, including moving freight and public transport to zero emission technologies.  Also half of all journeys to be walked or cycled by 2030 with funding for bus networks. There is also reference to zero emission flights..


G.  Other areas include low carbon farming support, peat and woodland restoration, as well as funding for free separate food waste collections for all households by 2025.


H.  Estimate is that an average of £50 to £60 billion is required per annum, most of which from the private sector, with the government creating an attractive investment environment, taking a strategic approach. Analysis shows benefits far outweigh costs and doing nothing leads to economic meltdown.


I.  Underpinning the Strategy are various principles including retaining consumer choice, while making the green choice the easiest and most affordable.


J. The Strategy also recognises the important role that local authorities have in delivering national ambitions, with examples of what this entails. It was noted that the Council is already delivering against these.


The following comments were received:


1.         A suggestion was received to encourage best practice, starting in schools with tree planting events, improving recycling advice, encouraging children to collect plastic bottles etc.


            In response, it was noted that there is a schools’ climate action network and climate action handbook which aim to support schools, including by embedding good behaviour practice with ideas for lessons and planning etc and this will help influence parents also.


2.         Following on, will there be a residents’ handbook available and how many hits have the climate action pages on the Council’s website had?


In response, it was noted that there is already a wide range of information to help people reduce their emissions and live more sustainable lives. However, Enfield specific resources would be useful and this is something that will be looked into. On the website, the numbers of page views is not something that has been looked at but could help inform future public facing activity.


3.         Is Enfield talking to other local authorities about best practice and how is success being monitored?


            In response, Enfield is actively involved in various networks and through these, best practice is being shared across local authorities. 


In terms of monitoring, a Climate Action Progress Report and Carbon Emissions Review were published in September. There has also been carbon disclosing reporting with theextensive sustainability and climate action work carried out by Enfield Council being awarded an A- overall rating by the internationally recognised environmental data charity CDP.



4.         In respect of de-carbonising buildings, what plans are there.


The Council has taken the lead, alongside Waltham Forest for the Retrofit London programme which has a target of buildings being an average of EPC B by 2030. The current focus is on domestic properties and an action plan has been developed. There is also a programme to improve Council housing using various funding sources. For corporate buildings the Council has secured significant Government funding to make improvements to the fabric (for example insulation), decarbonise heat (heat pumps and connections to the Energetik network) and install solar panels.


5.         There is evidence that residents have not grasped the concept of using the correct bins for recycling, especially in Parks.  


There are ongoing campaigns around waste and recycling which include information about the appropriate receptacles for different items.


6.         It is difficult for residents to translate global problems nearer home. 


This something that is recognise so communications are focusing more on local and individual action.  This includes messaging encouraging residents to re-use and recycle.


7.         The power that Council management have to make change and gain focus was questioned and how can objectives be achieved.


            In response, the Climate Change Action Plan has been prepared by Officers and Councillors with expertise to shape the document.  All decision making is done democratically and is transparent and measurable, with the use of consultations, engagement and collaborative working.


8.         An update on the bottle deposit scheme and fly-tipping was requested.


            In response, the government are currently look at these issues nationally.  It is not directly linked to the fortnightly collection but more to do with the pandemic and many more people working from home and producing more waste than usual.  It is deemed that residents do have the correct capacity in their bins if used correctly.  The County Courts are now re-opened and although there is a backlog, cases of fly-tipping are now being dealt with.


9.         Is there a clear line what central and local government are involved in relating to policy decision making?


            In response, the Climate Action Plan contains targets both corporately and borough wide and the Council are doing all they can to achieve what is deliverable.