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.

Carbon reduction

The council's Sustainable Development team takes the lead on carbon reduction from local authority operations including council offices and community buildings, schools, leisure centres, transport and street lighting.

In March 2019 the council declared a climate emergency. This commits the council to becoming Net Zero Carbon by 2025. The council is currently working on a plan to achieve this target. This plan will look at the following areas:

  • renewable technologies
  • improving the energy efficiency of the council’s buildings
  • reduce emissions from transport
  • waste
  • procurement.

Carbon reduction, local authority operations

The council reports its greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations each year to show its progress to becoming net zero carbon.

Past and current annual reports are available to download

If you have any questions regarding these reports or about carbon reduction in Tower Hamlets or, have any ideas about how we could stop energy wastage in your local school or community centre, please contact

David Esdaile
Tel: 020 7364 6649

Carbon reductions planning advice

National building regulations changed on 15 June 2022. The council's net zero carbon target, set out in Local Plan Policy D.ES7 will continue to apply to all major developments.

Applicants should continue to follow the energy hierarchy with at least 45 per cent improvement over Part L 2021 from on-site carbon savings.

Once on-site carbon savings have been maximised, any remaining emissions are required to be offset. This should be via a cash-in-lieu contribution to the council's carbon offset fund.

We declared a climate emergency in 2019. It is important that new development proposals reduce their energy requirements and aim to deliver zero carbon on-site buildings.

The recommendation is that all schemes follow the LETI climate emergency design guidance. The LETI climate emergency design guides are available on the LETI website.


Local Plan policy D.ES7 states:

  • all new non-residential development over 500 square metres floorspace (gross) are expected to meet or exceed BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating
  • all major non-residential refurbishment of existing buildings and conversions over 500 square metres floorspace (gross) must meet at least BREEAM non-domestic refurbishment ‘excellent’ rating.

Carbon offsetting

Threshold and contribution requirements. Planning obligations relating to energy will be sought for:

  • residential developments of 10 units or more, or with a combined gross floorspace of 1,000 sqm (gross internal area) or more 
  • all major non-residential development.

Carbon Offsetting Forumula

Where officers consider all opportunities to meet the relevant carbon reduction targets have been exhausted on-site, contributions to a carbon offsetting fund will be sought to meet the shortfall.

Formula – Carbon offsetting

Carbon offset contribution = Carbon Gap (Tonnes of CO2) x Price of Carbon (£) x 30 (Years).

‘Carbon Gap’ is the amount of regulated carbon emissions that remain following the integration of energy efficiency measures, clean energy systems and renewable energy technologies to a design, which goes beyond that required by Part L of the Building Regulations. The Carbon Gap refers to all residual emissions.

At present the carbon off-set price is £95 per tonne for all residual emissions.

For further information please contact