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Climate emergency


London Borough of Tower Hamlets was one of the first councils in the country to declare a climate emergency and is at the forefront of addressing climate change. 

The Mayor declared a climate emergency in March 2019 and the council has committed to become a net zero carbon council by 2025 and a net zero carbon borough by 2050 or sooner.

Implementing actions and change

We are implementing our Net Zero Carbon Action Plan which sets out our goals and commitment to tackling the climate emergency.

We are delivering against our climate emergency ambitions through a number actions and decisions.


  • Sustainable Workplace programme to encourage sustainable behaviours for council employees including
    • promoting resource efficiency
    • reduction in single use plastics and elimination of plastic cups from buildings
    • introduction of food waste collection to council offices to reduce waste being sent to landfill and incineration.
  • Adopted Local Plan policies that require all new development to achieve net zero carbon status.

  • Review of council Assets for Zero Carbon retrofit feasibility. Proposals include transitioning to low carbon heating and hot water systems and LED lighting, these projects will reduce carbon emissions by 105 tonnes a year.

  • Review of design standards for new council development to ensure that requirements align to the climate emergency declaration and deliver net zero carbon objectives.

  • Review of new town hall proposals to ensure design is as energy efficient as possible and operating environment and systems are low carbon.


  • Since 2019 the council purchases 100 per cent renewable electricity.

  • Completed initial feasibility for decarbonisation of Barkantine Heat and Power district heating network.

  • Commenced Solar PV analysis of Tower Hamlets buildings owned by the council to identify appropriate spaces to install renewable energy generating technologies.

  • Completed Bio-solar retrofit feasibility study of Tower Hamlets Homes properties to deliver renewable energy generating technologies (photovoltaics) and biodiverse roofs.

  • Continued delivery of carbon reduction projects
    • grants programme for schools to deliver carbon reduction measures saving 348 tonnes carbon
    • grants programme for SME’s for energy efficiency saving 198 tonnes carbon
    • residential heating efficiency project reduced carbon emissions by 70 tonnes.
  • 98 per cent of our street lighting upgraded to LED.


  • Adoption of Tower Hamlets Transport Strategy which sets out our vision and priorities for travel in Tower Hamlets from 2020 – 2041 through sustainable means of transport.

  • Launched Liveable Streets programme which aims to improve the look and feel of public spaces in neighbourhoods across the borough. This will make it easier, safer and more convenient to get around by foot, bike and public transport.

  • We have planted our 600th tree and working towards our commitment of delivering 1000 street trees.

  • We have installed 99 electrical vehicle charging points across the borough


  • The Pensions Committee have actively engaged with the climate change agenda and are looking at revising their investment strategy toward a greener portfolio. The Tower Hamlets pensions fund are on a journey towards decarbonisation of their investments.

Climate Change Event 2021

We are hosting a half day virtual Climate Engagement Event with partners on 17 March 2021.

This event will be co-chaired by Cllr Asma Islam, Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Realm (job share) and Ahmed Duale, Deputy Young Mayor and Youth Council Lead for Environment.

For more information, visit the Climate Change event page.