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.


Residents are encouraged to join to connect with like-minded residents and begin developing local carbon reduction projects. Residents who have ideas for projects do not have to become Community Leads to join the group.

The group is designed to be as open as possible in order to engage with as wide a group of people as possible and give individuals and organisations the opportunity to get involved as the climate action network grows.

Community Leads

Volunteer Community Leads have been appointed to steer each of these work streams and will be coordinating the relevant thematic meetings, helping develop projects and liaising with the Council.

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

Annual Progress Review – 2022

In April 2023, Merton’s climate action group met to discuss progress over the previous year.

Annual Progress Meeting 27 April 2023

0:02 Councillor Natasha Irons - We've got some fantastic projects that you'll hear more about later on, led by our Climate Action group. Things like Energy Matters, which is about, you know, creating the next generation of climate activists, but also reducing energy bills and helping to retrofit our borough. We've got Merton Garden Streets, which is greening the borough one street at a time, and The Wheel, which is all about green economy and ensuring that we are reusing as much as we can within the borough. So, so much amazing work
0:33 that's already happened and I'm really excited to see what other projects might come along in the future. Our volunteers have also helped to arrange a summer fair over at the Canons House in Mitcham, which was had live music and lots of entertainers. And we have had the
0:50 the cycle cinema and we've had really amazing things just to kind of bring climate action to the community and make it more interesting and just fun to get involved in.
1:02 Our volunteers have also been pulling together case studies to showcase some of the work around low carbon developments and are looking at how we can retrofit our private properties and have developments that are carbon neutral in the future. So there's some really exciting things coming up over the next year. Our administration allocated a further £2 million towards fighting climate change and £500,000 of that is being ring fenced specifically to
1:33 create a Climate Action fund which will help to provide seed funding for a lot of the projects that the Climate Action Group may come forward with. And it's really just to bring forward projects and ideas that that that the community think will be able to fight climate change within the borough. So it's really exciting now that we've got this fund that people can bid into and you'll hear more about that later on. So I hope that we can continue to come up with some really good ideas. I hope that tonight it will show you
2:04 some things you can get involved in. But I also hope that you will come forward and join us and get involved in some of our projects and volunteer yourselves. It shouldn't be too onerous. It should be things that you love to do anyway. And if you've got time then it's a good thing to get involved in. Some of our volunteers have gone on to get jobs off of the back of the work they've done here. So I'm really excited to hear your ideas about how we can fight climate change in the borough.
2:35 Thank you.
2:38 Amy Mallett – Climate Engagement Officer - Great. Thank you Natasha. We're just going to move on to Dominique Hill. She’s our Change Officer here at the council and she's going to tell you a bit more about what we're doing in Merton as well.
2:51 Dominique Hill – Climate Change Officer - Thanks, Amy. And thank you, Natasha. Good evening, everyone. I'm Dominique Hill. I'm the climate change officer at Merton Council. Thank you all very much for joining us tonight. So before we get stuck into the fantastic work that the community is doing, I am going to just set the scene a bit by providing a very brief overview of Merton's climate strategy and action plan and setting out what the Council is doing to play our part in tackling the climate emergency.
3:24 It's going to be a little bit of a whistle stop tour, but I hope you find it interesting. So in 2019 Merton declared a climate emergency and committed to two net zero carbon targets. The first is to become a net zero Carbon Council by 2030 and the second is to become a net zero Carbon borough by 2050. By setting this earlier target for our own operations, the council is looking to provide leadership in reducing carbon emissions in Merton. However, as Natasha mentioned, only 2% of the boroughs emissions are in the direct control of the council,
3:54 so everyone needs to play a part in order to achieve our borough wide target. So to become net zero carbon, all major sources of greenhouse gas emissions must be tackled. So as you can see on this slide, this includes the carbon footprint of goods and services, i.e. the economy and electricity and gas consumption and buildings, which is arguably the biggest challenge in getting to net zero and fuel consumption associated with transport,
4:20 Making a greener place by planting more trees for example, can only ever really capture a very small amount of emissions. It's currently estimated at around 0.2% of our total emissions as a barrier. But strategically placed green infrastructure can help us to deal with the impacts of a changing climate such as prolonged spells of hot weather and increased flooding. So in November 2020, the council adopted Merton's Climate Strategy and Action plan, which sets out the actions needed across these four areas. That's green economy,
4:50 buildings and energy, transport and greening Merton. The strategy provides a clear direction for the Council, but also individuals, businesses and organisations, because we all have a part to play.
5:03 So since the adoption of the climate strategy, the council has also published annual climate delivery plans, which set out the steps that the Council's taking to reduce our emissions, but also to support and implement our influence others in doing the same.
5:17 These reports are all publicly available online, so if you Google Merton's climate strategy and action plan, you can also find the climate delivery plans for 2021, 2022 and 2023. And this year we also
published a summary version of our climate delivery plan for 2023, which should be a good place to start if you're interested in finding out more about what we're doing as a council. Next slide please. Amy,
5:47 Thank you. That one. So this slide provides an overview of some of the council's highlights for 2022 and our priorities for 2023. And so I'm not going to go into too much detail because this is outside the scope of the Climate Action Group, But I just wanted to mention a couple of examples just to give you a bit of a flavour for some of the things that we're working on beyond supporting the Climate Action Group projects, which others are going to touch on shortly. So on the buildings and energy side, in 2022 we recruited a community retrofit officer to lead on the development of the borough
6:18 strategy for retrofit and we're also supporting fuel poor homes and social housing providers in accessing funding to retrofit their homes. And we are looking to launch a retrofit loan scheme for residents this year.
6:31 On the green economy side, we ran the Cannons Sustainable Summer Fair which we're planning to run again this year, this summer. And we've also secured funding for a new role within the council to lead on the development of a low carbon economy. And so we're hoping to recruit for that role this year. And we're also looking to launch Merton’s new Community Climate Action Fund, which Councillor Irons mentioned and Amy is going to introduce a bit later on. On the transport side, the council secured £750,000
7:02 for lamp column EV charge points which are being installed this year and we continuing to deliver active travel infrastructure across the borough and like cycle hangars and Merton Air Quality Action Plan. And in 2023, the council also plans to develop long term strategies for electric vehicles, walking and cycling
7:23 and in the green spaces, In addition to continuing to roll out lots of tree planting programmes across parks and streets in the borough. The council has also developed the first phase of Mertens Tree Strategy, which focuses on trees on council land. But the council is also looking to develop the second phase of that strategy this year, which looks at trees on private land.
7:47 And then finally, in terms of our own operations this year, the council is going to be undertaking a review of the council's operational buildings and Community Schools. So looking at the heating and catering systems in schools to inform our estate decarbonization plans towards our 2030 target and investigating options for the decarbonization of the council fleet as well. And we're also looking to recruit a new officer to lead on the decarbonization of our procured services as a council. So looking at the services that we contract out
8:18 and to launch a tool to embed carbon reduction in all council decisions.
8:23 So as I said earlier, this is a little bit of a whistle stop tour and but so I encourage you all to take a look at our summary climate delivery plan for Year 3 - 2023 if you're interested in finding out more. And now I'm going to hand over to Ramya who's going to tell us about The Wheel, one of the Climate Action Group's project ideas. Thank you.
8:49 Ramya Venkataraman – The Wheel Project Manager- Hello everyone. Good evening. My name is Ramya Venkatraman. I am with the Project Manager for The Wheel, which is one of Merton’s Climate Action Group projects that was developed in 2021 and funded in 2022. As you heard Amy and Natasha and Dom mentioned just before this
9:11 and so it is a project that focuses on capacity building for the circular economy.
9:18 And so last year was the first year of the wheel. It has been funded for this year as well. So we are looking forward to sort of continuing the work that we kicked off last year. We basically have three sort of strategic pillars within the wheel because capacity building can take all sorts of shapes and forms and broad scope.
9:49 So we created an online directory for signposting local reuse and repair networks and organisations. So this is the website which is called the wheel merton.org. And we have now linked this website to the council's waste pages, particularly on the page that talks about
10:16 textiles and also links to the electrical and furniture waste. And this is sort of a way for us to measure how you know how many people are actually clicking on these links and then this just helps to nudge people towards alternatives, you know that they can adopt other than throwing things away. The second pillar of the wheel is more on is repairing and upcycling workshops. And we focused on this
10:48 because one is obviously the reduction in waste, but also the skill share opportunities and it also it's also the behaviour change. So we run repair cafes. So we kicked off repair cafes last year as part of this year and they will continue this year. So we run repair cafes at Canon's house in Mitcham once in three months and then other also last year we did
11:19 a number of other initiatives. There was a clothes swap,
11:25 we ran a workshop for about 6 weeks, which was an upcycling project for Canon's house. It involved creating sort of soft furnishings with the community for the house. So instead of buying new items, we went and got second hand material or things that were in the dump and upcycled them to furnish the house. So that was a really good project. Interestingly, when we did the monitoring for the project, one of the big benefits that came out was actually the mental health benefit
11:56 in the civic pride that everyone that participated in those projects experienced. In addition, obviously the waste reduction which was the expected impact. And then thirdly actually this the third pillar which is the infrastructure that is something we will be getting into more this year. So this is all about actually having the physical infrastructure in order to
12:27 scale up the repair and reuse activity that we've kicked off last year. So actually having a physical space and potentially the operations in order to do more of what the wheel achieved last year.
12:43 Next slide. So yes, this just sums up all the things I mentioned on the previous slide in a snapshot and at the bottom you can see the headline numbers in terms of the wheels impact from all the sort of projects and events and initiatives we rolled out last year. So 700 kilogrammes of waste. Most of that was actually textile
13:12 waste
13:15 and we achieved that through 662 volunteer hours that were contributed. And we've also reported the approximate sort of emission savings from it. We used the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, where they report emission factors. So we use that to estimate those figures. But all of this information is available in the impact report that we submitted to the council
13:46 and that would be available in the public domain
13:50 that I think that's about it really. That's a very, again, whistle stop tour of the project. Lots of pictures, everyone had a lot of fun.
14:01 I'll, I'll sum it up with that.
14:05 Amy Mallett – Climate Engagement Officer - Brilliant. Thank you, Ramya. Sorry for the pop ups as well. Thank you very much and hopefully that's given everyone a lot to think about. And yeah, as Ramya said, you can read the impact report that will be available on the website and I think Sustainable Merton’s website as well. So we'll just go on to talking with Danila about Merton Garden Streets.
14:33 Danila Ardé – Merton Garden Streets Project Manager - Merton Garden Streets is taking place throughout the borough again this year. And last year it was an absolute success. You had more than 124 roads taking part and the point of the project really is to encourage biodiversity within the borough, to green up the borough, improve civic pride. But what we found from chatting to everyone
who took part in the project and doing the surveys is one of the biggest benefits was community cohesion,
15:02 umm, and civic pride. And it really helped everyone in terms of forming new relationships with their neighbours, which they hadn't before and had lost those connections during COVID and getting out and about. So that was fantastic. One of the other benefits too was people improve their gardening knowledge and the project was open to absolutely anyone in the whole borough and anyone could join. They didn't need to have any prior knowledge of gardening and we ask people to sign up and we provided support. So it was
15:33 there was a really great product for everyone to come together for the community planting days. We go onto the next slide and we had over 124 volunteers be coordinated sign up by September and after that even more people were signing up even though we didn't have any more planting days planned, which was fantastic. So that worked really well and we encourage people to
15:57 make WhatsApp groups for their roads, which was fantastic. So that encouraged people to get to know their neighbours as well. So it increased the reach that we have across the project.
16:07 I'm with the next slide.
16:09 I love the little volunteer there.
16:12 We were very lucky and by the end of the project all 20 wards in Merton had signed up, which is fantastic. Initially the wards that were close together that had taken part the year before and were the first to sign up. But as the project spread throughout the borough through word of mouth and throughout the communication channels and with the help of Merton council and advertising the project, all 20 wards had joined, which is just a really great result. And on the next slide, you can see Merton on the map. So
16:42 everyone who signed up, we plotted them on the map and this is publicly available. And this year you'll see the same map and new people have registered already and overlaid the new registrations over this map with the different colours. So we can start to see if we're having a wider spread across the borough. And on the next slide that was just a timeline. So initially we had started the project with the view to just doing the community planting days. But as the project evolved,
17:13 people got very excited and we're very enthusiastic, which was exactly what we wanted. And we had a in October we had a seed swap event and we ended up sending more seeds out to everyone in the borough. And most of these seeds have been harvested within the borough, which means they came from plants that were already successful, which is really good. And we also then delivered bulbs across the entire borough. So we had over 1500 bulbs delivered in carbon neutral packaging and using Xeroe
17:44 to deliver the plants. So a lot of the bulbs we see across the borough have come from very, you know from various places. There aren't all from Merton Garden streets. But what Merton Garden Streets has done is encourage people to take ownership of the spaces that are public and are green around them and we've seen a lot more greening up of the borough over and above just the Merton Garden Streets project. So I think that's fantastic. It's encouraged people to have a go which is really good. On the next slide. I think that's just an example of some of the
18:14 fonts that we had there are just absolutely beautiful. We delivered more than 7000 plants by July, these are our partners Xeroe who did emission free delivery for us. We couldn't have done the project without them. Just absolutely brilliant partners to work with and it's quite difficult delivering plants. You can't box them up and put them in your pocket. So we are very impressed with the service we had and all the clients were delivered in perfect condition
18:40 and the next few slides are just some transformations, from you know dusty old dried out street pits to some beautiful street pits and street verges and the volunteers during the feedback we got, were just absolutely overwhelmingly positive. And many of them came up with some fantastic new suggestions to take the project forward and other projects that we can run within the borough, which is really good. And we couldn't have done this without
19:09 our volunteers. But we weren't just supported by them, we were supported by the
19:15 our neighbours, our sponsors making council and those who donated extra plants. Idverde took a great interest in helping us keep our plants safe and they looked out for our adopted plants and looked after signs all over the borough and they were kind enough to also donate plants when they redid their beddings which was a really nice partnership. And we also received plants from other people within the borough such as the Wimbledon Foundation, and some of them we donated
19:46 to people within our project, but we also gave some to Idverde to replenish an area that was in dire need of some planting. So all in all, it was a really good project and lots of positive things came out of it.
20:00 Thank you.
20:03 Brilliant. Thank you, Danila. And Merton Garden Streets is running again this year, obviously. So you know, people can sign up through Sustainable Means website, can't they, to get involved.
Amy Mallett – Climate Engagement Officer - Thank you. And so we're just going to go on now and talk a little bit about energy matters. So Asha, if you're here and you want to talk, please just unmute yourself.
20:38 Asha Newsum – Volunteer Engagement Lead, Merton’s Climate Action Group - Hello all. I don't have a presentation. I'm part of the Climate Action Group and I'm going to talk a little bit about the Energy Matters project. The project was designed in the latter half of 2021 by Merton’s Climate Action Group. It was a team led by Ramya, Jodie, James and myself, and the council approved it in November 2021.
21:03 The vision of the project is to build the next generation of energy champions by upskilling children and school-based educators and providing energy advice to families.
21:15 The aim is to empower the younger generation with knowledge to drive behaviour change around energy use.
21:22 The purpose of the project was to pilot an approach for educating primary school children in 4 Merton schools, providing school-based energy cafe events for families and having a replicable approach for rolling out the education modules to other schools.
21:40 The project delivery was through a collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Energy based in Bristol, the MCAG which is the Merton’s Climate Action Group, and four schools identified by the Head of Schools Improvement in the council. The schools are Lonesome Singlegate, William Morris and Morden Primary.
22:00 Why did we choose CSE?
22:03 After extensive research and engagement by the Merton’s Climate Action Group for potential partners, CSE stood out as they delivered a similar project in the West Country. In addition, CSE was offering financial resources for the inception phase and a team of good experts.
22:22 So what have we achieved to date?
22:24 Education materials were considered and co-created by CSE and the participating schools for three age groups. Early years, Key Stage one and Key Stage Two. Training sessions were provided by CSE to the energy educators. In the four schools, Energy Matters modules were delivered by the energy educators, reaching 300 pupils across 10 classes.
22:50 Energy cafes were held at each of the four schools and 250 people attended.
22:56 The pilot was evaluated and report widely shared.
23:01 So where are we now?
23:03 The education modules are being updated by CSE to reflect the outcome of the pilot and evaluation.
23:09 The project was granted an extension by the Council.
23:14 The extension of the Project underspend has provided an opportunity for CSE, with the help of the council’s Climate Engagement Officer, to engage with other schools in the borough and identify schools for the rollout.
23:28 The underspend also provides an opportunity for supporting the early stage of the next phase.
23:34 The education modules will be updated and available for all schools.
23:40 In conclusion, some reflections
23:43 dealing with the design and delivery. The early phase of the delivery through lockdown was actually quite a challenge. It wasn't easy.
23:50 It's essential to look to locate the ownership of the project in the schools. The appointment of a project manager and each school and energy educators based in each school were extremely important. We offered school specific solutions. It was important to have a professional service provider. In this regard, CSE was and continues to be a high quality professional provider bringing resources and expertise.
24:19 Timing is critical. Delays could have shifted the programme by year as requirements for educational modules to be delivered as part of the Integrated school based programme for the academic year.
As the agreement with the with the Council only began in May 2022, the CSE funding of the inception phase enabled a timely start in January 2022.
24:43 Evaluation is important to capture what's worked and how to move forward.
24:48 Flexibility is necessary without compromising on quality.
24:52 Political and executive support from the Council is key and we appreciate their support and encouragement. MCAG’s involvement provides institutional continuity from concept to delivery.
25:05 What have we learned since the pilot? It is essential to have a period of engagement before schools sign up. CSE’s current engagement to identify schools for the rollout has been invaluable. The workshops, meetings and participation as part of the Council's Green Schools Network has provided valuable insights on shaping future direction and collaboration with the schools. On that note, I shall end. Thank you,
25:33 Amy Mallett – Climate Engagement Officer - Asha, thank you very much because I think that's really not only encapsulated the project in 5 minutes, but also illustrated some of the challenges and the, the requirements that there are in terms of developing an MCAG project, which is actually something I'm going to get onto now as well. So I'll just move on slide.
25:54 So the next sort of 10 minutes of the meeting, I'm just going to discuss in a bit more detail what the process is for joining MCAG. So that's the acronym that we use from Merton’s Climate Action Group, if you haven't got that already. And we're going to just look a bit, look into what MCAG projects look like and also just take you through a process in terms of
26:19 framing what project development might look like for any new volunteers or people that might want to join MCAG over the next few months. So
26:31 apologies for the text, but this will be shared around afterwards, but you I’ll summarise it here. So the main thing is that MCAG projects come from residents, that they are resident led carbon reduction projects that have community benefits at their heart. The important thing is also really that the projects align with the climate strategy and action plan, to the main themes that are buildings and energy, transport, greening Merton and the green economy, because that way we feel that the projects will
27:01 actually work towards net zero by 2050. Sorry if everyone could just put themselves on mute. Thank you. So the other part of the project, well the other side of it is the development of the projects. And as Asha mentioned, that networking and that engagement piece before you really start getting
anything down on paper and start writing a project proposal is so important, because you need to understand if there is a need for the project and also to actually engage with the audiences you think
27:32 you might want to benefit from the project and get involved. And the other key thing that Asha also mentioned is actually making sure that there is a delivery partner involved in the project. So you know as part of a volunteer group, there is absolutely no expectation on anyone in the volunteer group to deliver the project because we realise that everyone is sort of sacrificing and contributing their time as it is. And actually project development and delivery takes a really long time.
28:02 So that's why it's been crucial to have Sustainable Merton and the Centre for Sustainable Energy involved in the projects.
28:10 And I think, for any future MCAG projects, working with local, regional or even national partners and community organisations, charities, faith groups, schools, anything is a really positive way forward in terms of actually getting projects delivered. Obviously, the last thing there is funding as well. We need the funding to get the projects up and running. That can be from external funds, things like Aviva, Tesco, Veolia Sustainability Fund, but also obviously the council.
28:41 We have our own funding pots as well that residents and their delivery partners can bid into as has been done with Merton Garden streets and Energy Matters and the wheel. So
28:52 I won't go into any more detail about that, but in terms of becoming a volunteer,
28:57 there's no application process. You join based on having a project idea in mind that you might like to actually develop into a project proposal.
29:08 The idea is obviously through this kind of forum, we begin networking and residents begin to talk to each other about their areas of interest to see if you want to collaborate on similar things and the council can support with that initial guidance, that project guidance and helping people. Ohh, sorry Mehmood would you mind just putting yourself on mute.
29:31 Thanks.
29:32 And so there's nothing to it really in terms of becoming a volunteer, except from the fact that you want to commit some of your time to actually coming up with a project idea/proposal. In terms of becoming a community lead, like we have with Asha, Jodi, James, Mehmood and Luke, there's a short application process that we'd ask you to complete and to commit a certain amount of time to the group. Diana Sterck, who was our green economy lead, has just stepped down to make way for someone else to take over the mantle for that
30:04 area. But Diana Sterck, I didn't know if you're in here. But for those of you that don't know Diana, she's also the CEO of Sustainable Merton and the chief exec of Merton’s Chamber of Commerce. So she's already doing a lot of work in this area to progress sustainability and trying to prevent climate change as well. The responsibilities of the community leads are a bit different to those who volunteer or they're in addition to that of a volunteer. And that really means reaching out to residents through their own networks,
30:35 doing some of that initial engagement to see what's out there and who might want to get involved in different projects. And also helping to coordinate thematic meetings of the group. That is subgroup meetings with different volunteers and arranging those project meetings and conversations independently of the council and then attending and reporting back on annual progress meetings like the one we're having today. That's it in a nutshell and
31:02 and I'll just move on again. So in terms of the council offer of support there are a few things that we do to, you know, support residents in Merton's Climate Action Group. So obviously facilitating these
31:19 reviews, these progress reviews and also internal reviews of the group, we publicise MCAG through our different communications channels like our Climate Action Newsletter. We'll also support with providing funding to create and publish materials as well. We'll also help facilitating different events that residents might want to organise. So potential webinars on topics of interest, so long as there is that motivation from residents to also find potential speakers.
31:50 And operationally as well, something we've been doing with community leads is actually making sure that they come along to some strategic meetings at the council so that they stay up to date with the work of the council as well.
32:13 We also offer some project support as well. Residents and volunteers who come to us with potential ideas we can point in the right direction in terms of making sure that you're not duplicating the work that the council's already doing because that's not really the point of the group. We obviously want residents to come up with projects and work with residents to come up with projects that address those 98% of emissions rather than the 2% council emissions. And we'll also be able to tell you to our own knowledge
32:43 whether those projects are already going on in the borough or not and offer general project guidance, project templates, but also share external funding opportunities. That's something that we're working on. And you know for council grant funds, when those open, we will be able to share specific guidance and answers to frequently asked questions to help volunteers in actually writing project proposals. So
33:10 I'll just take you through this timeline very quickly as well. So in terms of project development, there are a couple of things that volunteers can actually start to work towards. So every year the council opens the neighbourhood CIL fund. So it's a voluntary community sector fund. I think it's called investing in neighbourhoods. But this year, because as Natasha said, we will be opening a Community Climate Action Fund as well, those will be running at the same time. So opening at the same time to receive
33:41 bids from residents, from community groups, from lots of different organisations who have the intention of developing community led carbon reduction projects. And so those bids will actually open around October time. And so between now and October, it's a really good amount of time for residents to begin thinking about potential project ideas and things that you want to see happening in the borough. So really what we would do is
34:12 encourage you all on this call to connect with us after and to e-mail me and then we can actually put you in touch with other residents who have similar interests who might all want to work on similar project proposals. Now you don't have to do that, of course, you could go off and do it yourself. I would say it's much nicer working with other people and it's much easier as well. Because the main point of the group is to bring residents together who have lots of different skills, who
34:43 have worked in different careers, exciting careers, some that might even be aligned with sustainability and climate change anyway, and use all of your skills at the same time for joint benefit. And so that is the timeline leading up to the opening of the Community Climate Action Fund. It's something you can take a look at in more detail when we send the slides around afterwards. But I'd say from now until July, really, you know, if you want to start developing projects, start networking,
35:13 start thinking about those ideas and start looking to see what else is already out there across the country in different local authorities, with community groups, with schools, all that kind of thing.
35:25 So I'll just move on. And there is one final note on this. It's just good housekeeping. In terms of climate action projects and you know, we do ask that projects don't duplicate the work of the council and that the group and the volunteers really are there to come up with local carbon reduction projects, rather than comment on council policy, or to try to change council policy, or the council's climate delivery plan and other things like the local plan, or you know, commenting on financial decisions.
35:56 The council have more formal consultation routes for all of those kind of things, which residents can access as and when different documents open for consultation. And you can access all of that through our website and our consultation hub. And so just a bit of additional guidance there in terms of thinking about different ideas. And some suggestions in terms of what to do,
but I'll leave it there. And I think it's probably good. If we have a 5 minute break for those of you who need to leave, that's perfectly fine. But the next sort of 25 to 30 minutes of the session are going to be about talking to each other, networking, trying to understand what your priorities are, but also who you are and what your careers are, what your backgrounds are like, so that we can begin to start thinking about how we can use our skills to come up with local carbon reduction projects. So leave it there for 5 minutes.

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.

Launch event – January 2021

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

Climate Action Group Projects

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

Buildings & EnergyEnergy Matters - Building the next generation of energy championsIn 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 & EnergyMerton Green Building AwardsThe 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.
TransportThe Big PedalIn 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.
TransportNeighbourhood Car Free DayIn 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.
TransportCycle BuddiesThe Transport sub-group worked with Merton Cycling Campaign to promote Merton Cycle Buddies which pairs new or returning cyclists with more experienced riders.
Green EconomyThe 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.

The Council and The Wheel also recently won £12,000 to deliver a project investigating opportunities to improve the resource and energy efficiency of local businesses.

High street business energy and waste reduction project

Green EconomyPackshareIn 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 MertonMerton Garden StreetsIn 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 MertonUrban ReLeafIn partnership with Kingston University, the Greening Merton sub-group is working to identify underutilised grey spaces in the borough to identify local planting opportunities.
EngagementSchools Climate Action ConferenceIn 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.

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 streamCommunity Lead(s)Email
Engagement and FundingAsha Newsumcag.engagement@gmail.com
Green EconomyTBCregeneration@merton.gov.uk

Luke McCarthy

Mehmood Naqshbandi

Greening MertonTBCcag.greeningmerton@gmail.com
Buildings and Energy

Jodi Anderson

James Stettler

Asha Newsum


If you have any other questions, you can contact the Council's Climate Change Team at regeneration@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 regeneration@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 and 2022.

We are also looking for two new community leads for the Greening Merton sub-group, a co-lead for the Engagement & Funding cross cutting theme and two new Community Leads 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 regeneration@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.

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.