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Climate Action Group

Have you ever wanted to drive or support climate action in your local area, or develop a project to help tackle climate change? Find out more about how you can play your part in Merton's Climate Action Group here.

The purpose of Merton's Climate Action Group is to develop community-led projects that reduce Merton's greenhouse gas emissions, where joint efforts are more effective than the actions of individuals or the Council alone.

The group aims to support and foster community-led action by encouraging positive networks of people from all parts of the borough, and all walks of life, whose combined resources, skills and expertise can successfully develop and implement projects which reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Please sign up here for updates regarding Merton’s Climate Action Group.

Launch event

Merton's Climate Action Group was launched on 27 January 2021.

Progress Review Meeting

The group had its first progress review meeting on 30 June 2021.

How does it work?

The Climate Action Group is formed of four thematic sub-groups aligned with the priority areas set out in Merton's Climate Strategy and Action Plan:

A separate work stream supports the work of the thematic sub-groups by considering cross-cutting issues like engagement and funding.

Volunteer Community Leads have been appointed to steer each of these work streams and will be coordinating all the relevant meetings, helping develop projects and liaising with the Council. You can find out more about the Community Leads below.

The Climate Action Group has formal meetings with the Council on a monthly basis (apart from over the summer and Christmas, so we'll have a couple of meetings in September and October), focussing on a different theme each month, with a general progress meeting every 6 months.

Upcoming meetings are set out below:

The monthly meetings are open for anyone to attend and we encourage residents, businesses and organisations to take part however they can. The more people get involved, the more climate action we can foster, the more people we can reach and the more carbon we can save!

The Community Leads are coordinating any activities between these formal meetings so please get in touch with the relevant leads if you would like to actively contribute to any of the work streams.

Please see the Terms of Reference for more details.

How you can get involved

If you already have a particular project in mind, this group could help you connect with a network of people from a range of backgrounds to help develop your project.

If you don't have any specific project ideas, the group would definitely welcome your energy, enthusiasm and support in developing existing ideas. And you can get involved with as many work streams and projects as you like.

If you are interested in actively contributing to any of the work streams, please get in touch with the relevant community leads at the email addresses set out in the table below and come along to any relevant meetings.

Work stream Community Lead(s) Email
Engagement and FundingRamya Venkataraman
Green Economy

Diana Sterck

Carola Grillo

Luke McCarthy

Mehmood Naqshbandi
Greening MertonKelly Gunnell
Buildings and Energy

Jodi Anderson

James Stettler

If you have any other questions, you can contact the Council's Climate Change Team at   

Community Leads

We would like to introduce the Community Leads who have volunteered their time to support the Climate Action Group and drive the various work streams:

Ramya Venkataraman – Community Co-Chair and Lead for Engagement and Funding

Ramya is a resident of Merton with several years' experience in R&D, operations and business development in the energy sector. She is passionate about finding solutions to climate change and the energy transition challenge and hopes that her children will inherit a safer and healthier planet in the future.

Diana Sterck – Green Economy Lead  

Diana has worked in Merton for 20 years in her role as Chief Executive of Merton Chamber of Commerce. She also combines this role with being Chief Executive of Sustainable Merton, the borough's locally based environmental charity. She is passionate about climate change and believes in all of us taking personal responsibility for reducing our carbon footprint. Through her joint roles she works to support both residents and businesses through practical projects, along with bringing information, advice and support to enable and empower us to take action.

Carola Grillo – Green Economy Lead  

Carola is a Merton resident and active community member with passion for helping the Planet and its People.

As a Marketer and Market Researcher by profession and a Sociologist by degree and at heart, Carola sports a love for understanding human behaviour and fostering behavioural change. That is why she founded Planet Team in 2019 whose main priority is to increase awareness of the much needed changes we, as individuals and as part of a collective, must undertake for a sustainable lifestyle and A Future for this Planet. The remit of Planet Team is two-fold: 'local primary school and local community'. 

Having worked in the private sector for more than 15 years, Carola is naturally inclined to wanting to help Businesses with pushing the Sustainability agenda. Carola has a degree in Corporate Sustainability, Social Innovation and Ethics from the Imperial College Business School and most recently embarked upon, what promises to be, an exciting journey within Merton's Climate Action Group as Green Economy Lead.

Kelly Gunnell – Greening Merton Lead

Kelly is an environmental scientist and urban ecologist. She has experience working in consultancy, conservation and research. She is currently undertaking a PhD at King's College London (Geography) examining the role of natural infrastructure in mitigating flooding upstream of cities under climate change. Kelly lives in Wimbledon and is mum to two young boys and Jozi, the dog.

Luke McCarthy – Transport Lead

In his day job, Luke works for a social mobility charity, which ensures that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds get the right support to succeed in school, in work and in life. He setup and chairs Merton Residents' Transport Group, to support the development and implementation of the best possible emergency transport measures by Merton Council in response to Covid-19. He is also founder and chair of trustees at Maidenhead Cycle Hub, promoting cycling in that area though refurbishing donated bikes, organising led rides and working with the council to improve cycling infrastructure. He lives in Merton Park, and is currently renovating a house without owning a car, instead using a bike trailer to source required materials!

Mehmood Naqshbandi – Transport Lead

Mehmood works as an Enterprise Architect, designing IT-based organisation-wide technical change, mainly to UK central government clients. Mehmood was deeply involved in the 'alternative' movements that fostered environmental awareness and social change in the late 1970s, and was motivated to return to environmental campaigning and action through an acute awareness of just how urgent is the need for dramatic change in how we live and exploit our environment. Mehmood hopes that his professional understanding of major organisational change can be applied to the work of the Climate Action Group.  He is very keen to find ways to propagate wider awareness of the issues arising from the climate emergency and address them through practical solutions, small or large.  He is also very keen to ensure that there is better understanding of the disproportionately negative impact on people with disabilities, of both environmental degradation and well-meant sustainable solutions.

Jodi Anderson – Buildings and Energy Lead

Jodi is a Merton resident with a long-standing interest in sustainability and a commitment to addressing climate change. Jodi's professional background is in the university sector and includes working with diverse communities to lead organisational change initiatives, developing international partnerships and establishing academic programmes. Most recently she was Senior Director of the University of California Trust (UK) where she oversaw engagement and fundraising activities for the University of California alumni community in Europe.

Given the outsized role that buildings play in contributing to carbon emissions, she sees an urgent need to highlight existing opportunities for Merton residents to personally reduce their energy consumption and make their homes more energy efficient. She also looks forward to contributing to the Merton Climate Action Group's development of new initiatives to promote energy efficient buildings and make the steps to get there more accessible to a wider population. Jodi welcomes the participation of other community members with interest in these activities in the Energy and Buildings sub-group.

James Stettler – Buildings and Energy Lead

James, a Merton resident since 1995, spent over 30 years working as an equity research analyst in London and Zurich. The most rewarding part of his career was bringing renewable energy (wind/solar) and clean tech companies (EV charging/battery storage) to the market. Having spent the past 20 years on improving the energy efficiency of his Edwardian family home, he has learnt about the many challenges as well as the high cost of transforming an old house into a more energy efficient building. He is excited to support Merton's move towards a zero carbon future which will require significant effort and creativity to upgrade the existing housing stock of 90,000 units and ensure that all new buildings are designed to be as green as possible. At the same time, he is looking forward to supporting new programs which aim to alleviate fuel poverty across the Borough.