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 support the development and implementation of community-led projects, events and knowledge exchange 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 and build climate resilience in Merton.

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

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 meetings and events 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! Please get in touch with the relevant leads if you would like to actively contribute to any of the work streams.

Progress to date

Launch event – January 2021

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

Progress Review Meeting – June 2021

The group met to discuss progress on 30 June 2021.

In 2021, the Climate Action Group met on a monthly basis to discuss and develop project ideas, focussing on a different workstream each month. In 2022, the group is looking to run a series of public events on various climate-related topics. Stay tuned for more news on upcoming events.

Climate Action Group Projects

This section provides a brief overview of the Climate Action Group projects being developed/ delivered by the Climate Action Group.

Workstream Project Description

Buildings & Energy

Energy Matters - Building the next generation of energy champions

In 2021, the Buildings & Energy subgroup developed a proposal and secured funding to run energy training in 4 pilot schools in Merton to empower the younger generation with knowledge to drive behaviour change around energy use. The group is working with partners to deliver this project in 2022. To find out more, please contact James at cag.buildings@gmail.com.

Buildings & Energy

Merton Green Building Awards

The Buildings & Energy subgroup is looking to showcase low carbon homes and buildings in Merton to promote low carbon design and retrofit in the borough. If you’re interested in getting involved or showcasing your home, please contact Jodi at cag.buildings@gmail.com.

Transport

The Big Pedal

In 2021, the Transport sub-group promoted Sustrans’ Big Pedal and 21 schools signed up in Merton. The group will be looking to promote Sustrans’ Big Walk and Wheel this year from 21 March - 1 April 2022. Please contact Luke and Mehmood at cag.transportmerton@gmail.com if you would like to get involved in helping promote this scheme in Merton.

Transport

Neighbourhood Car Free Day

In partnership with the Council, the Transport sub-group worked to promote and support climate action across Merton in honour of World Car Free Day in September 2021. This involved a series of events across Mitcham, Morden and Wimbledon town centres, and 19 resident-led Car Free Day play streets across the borough. The group is looking to build on this in 2022. Please get in touch with Luke and Mehmood at cag.transportmerton@gmail.com if you would like to get involved.

Transport

Cycle Buddies

The Transport sub-group worked with Merton Cycling Campaign to promote Merton Cycle Buddies which pairs new or returning cyclists with more experienced riders.

Green Economy

The Wheel – A Circular Economy Hub for Merton

In partnership with Sustainable Merton, the Green Economy sub-group is developing an exciting circular economy project that aims to bring together the many waste reduction, reuse and upcycling projects in the borough under one umbrella brand "The Wheel" to raise awareness and to change consumer behaviour. The project will build the capacity of small projects so that they can grow and develop. To find out more or get involved please contact info@sustainablemerton.org.

Green Economy

Packshare

In 2021, the Green Economy sub-group worked with Sustainable Merton to promote Packshare, a database of UK businesses who reuse packaging from their communities, in order to encourage local businesses to sign up and local residents to donate their packaging.

Greening Merton

Merton Garden Streets

In 2021, the Greening Merton sub-group launched the Merton Garden Streets initiative, a volunteer-led project delivered by local residents and businesses to make our streets greener. With over 90 streets signing up to planting days over the summer, community feedback highlighted positive impacts for mental and physical wellbeing, developing a greater sense of community, as well as improving local air quality, biodiversity and climate resilience. Please sign up to Merton’s Climate Action Newsletter for future updates on Merton Garden Streets 2022.

Greening Merton

Urban ReLeaf

In partnership with Kingston University, the Greening Merton sub-group is working to identify underutilised grey spaces in the borough to identify local planting opportunities.

Engagement

Schools Climate Action Conference

In September 2021, the Climate Action Group helped Merton’s School Improvement team organise a Climate Action Conference for schools, to highlight some of the steps that schools can take to reduce their carbon footprint and promote wider climate action in Merton.

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 Funding

Asha Newsum

cag.engagement@gmail.com

Green Economy

Diana Sterck

diana@sustainablemerton.org

Transport

Luke McCarthy

Mehmood Naqshbandi

cag.transportmerton@gmail.com

Greening Merton

TBC

cag.greeningmerton@gmail.com

Buildings and Energy

Jodi Anderson

James Stettler

Asha Newsum

cag.buildings@gmail.com

If you have any other questions, you can contact the Council's Climate Change Team at Future.Merton@merton.gov.uk.

We are currently looking for a new volunteer community Co-Chair. If you are interested in this role, please submit an expression of interest to Future.Merton@merton.gov.uk , setting out:

  • Why you’re interested in the community Co-Chair role;
  • How you would approach the role;
  • How you would reach out to partners to increase climate engagement across Merton; and
  • How you would build on what the group achieved in 2021.

We are also looking for a new community lead for the Greening Merton sub-group, a co-lead for the Engagement & Funding cross cutting theme and a co-lead for the Green Economy sub-group. If you’re interested in any of these roles, please get in touch with Merton’s Climate Change Team at Future.Merton@merton.gov.uk.

Please see the Terms of Reference for more details about the purpose of the group and the community lead roles.

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:

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.

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.

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.

Asha Newsum – Engagement Lead

Asha is a Merton resident with nearly three decades supporting delivery of UK government’s international commitment to poverty reduction and sustainable development goals. A focus area was provision of affordable and accessible essential services for the poor, marginalised and vulnerable. The work involved development and implementation of policies, programs/projects through partnerships in national, sub national and local governments and communities. Previously, Asha worked in the NHS supporting implementation of the first generation reforms introducing patient centred services. Her career started as a computer systems designer for public/private sector organisations in UK and overseas. In her personal life, Asha has helped restore three period homes in the South-East and is currently working on her Victorian apartment to improve the EPC rating through phased and affordable retrofit. Participation in Merton’s Climate Action Group provides an exciting opportunity to support the Council and communities achieve the objectives in Merton’s Climate Strategy and Action Plan.