Lithium battery fires

Lithium batteries have caused fires in the rubbish lorries. Please do not put batteries in your waste or recycling bin. All batteries (including lithium batteries from e-bikes and e-scooters and other re-chargeable devices) can be taken to the Reuse and Recycling Centre at Northumberland Wharf.

Climate emergency

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 council 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 2045 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. Further information can also be found in our Cleaner, Greener leaflet. This sets out the strategy launched by the Mayor in February 2023.

Since 2019 we have delivered the following;


  • Sustainable Workplace programme to encourage sustainable behaviours for council employees.
  • 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 developments to achieve net zero carbon status.
  • Installation of air source heat pumps into four of our buildings.
  • Review of design standards for new council developments to ensure that requirements align to the climate emergency declaration and deliver net zero carbon objectives.
  • The New Town Hall is as energy efficient as possible and is heated by air source heat pumps.
  • We have recently appointed a contractor who will install solar panels onto 10 council buildings.
  • We’ve commissioned detailed surveys of our buildings with a view to implementing the recommended measures to reduce the energy consumption of those buildings.
  • A Net Zero Building Action Group has been set up that brings together teams from across the council to work together to decarbonise our buildings.  


  • Since 2019 the council purchases 100 per cent renewable electricity.
  • 98 per cent of our street lighting upgraded to LED.

Transport and streets

  • 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. 
  • We have planted over 1000 street trees and we have committed to planting another 1000 trees over the next five years.  
  • We have installed over 350 electrical vehicle charging points across the borough and we are installing 1,400 more by 2026.

Our progress to achieving our ambitions to be net zero carbon by 2025 can be found in our annual Greenhouse Gas Reports. These report the Council’s emissions and the explains the reasons for changes in our emissions. 

Through the Council’s carbon offset fund we have provide grant funding through numerous programmes. Details of all these programmes can be found on the carbon offsetting page.

Climate Partnership 

The council alone cannot reduce the emissions of Tower Hamlets to net zero by 2045. So, in 2020 the council created the Climate Partnership. This is chaired by the local NHS Trust and is made up of a variety of organisations, including businesses, education and faith groups, as well as housing associations, and voluntary and public sector organisations. 

To ensure efficient delivery of actions across the borough the Partnership has created three subgroups. 

  • Collaboration and Leadership
  • Research, Data and Intelligence
  • Greening, Growing and Biodiversity (Tower Habitats)

These subgroups will focus on these topics so that actions and projects can be identified and implemented to reduce emissions across the borough.