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 will be 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 will 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.
Merton's Climate Action Group was launched on 27 January 2021.
How will it work?
The Climate Action Group will be 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 will support 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 will have formal meetings with the Council on a monthly basis, focussing on a different theme each month, with a general progress meeting every 6 months.
The first round of meetings are set out below:
- Wednesday 24 February – Green Economy (18:00 - 20:00) –
- Wednesday 31 March – Greening Merton (18:00 - 20:00) –
- Wednesday 28 April – Buildings & Energy (18:00 - 20:00)
- Wednesday 26 May – Transport (18:00 - 20:00)
- Wednesday 30 June – Progress Meeting (18:00 - 20:00)
The monthly meetings will be 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 will be 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.
If you have any other questions, you can contact the Council's Climate Change Team at
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.
Alban Thurston – Buildings and Energy Lead
Alban has lived in Merton since 1997, working & investing since 2007 in community energy, in commercial sales of renewables, in energy policy & journalism. In 2011 with Merton residents he delivered 'Juice From Your Roof', a free-to-join discount club for home solar PV. He's active in the growth of energy co-operatives, including CREW Energy. In Merton he's worked in technical accreditation of a business installing renewable heat equipment.