Sustainability and climate change have always been a priority for us. In 2003 we adopted a ground-breaking policy requiring all new build developments to generate 10% of their energy from on-site renewable sources. This policy was then adopted by councils across the UK as the Merton Rule.
We have taken important steps towards reducing carbon emissions from its building stock over the last decade, such as insulation and installing solar panels in schools across the borough, and reducing emissions from street lighting. We met the voluntary government target of reducing carbon emissions by over 30% by 2020/2021 against baseline levels in 2009/2010.
See Our Emissions for information on the key sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the borough and the Council's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reports.
Solar photovoltaics (PV)
We are generating more of our own energy and reducing carbon costs thanks to the use of solar panel systems installed on public buildings across the borough, including council offices, schools and leisure centres.
Our solar panels help to reduce the environmental impact of our activities by cutting our carbon emissions and help provide energy bill savings. The solar panels also generate revenue for the council through the government's Feed in Tariff.
The total energy we have generated from our solar panels in kilowatt hours (kWh) is included below, along with our total installed capacity of solar PV.
Total Installed Capacity (as of 23/10/18) = 2.029 mWp
Schedule showing all of our currently registered PV systems
Other projects to reduce our impact on the environment have included installing a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system in Merton Civic Centre. It is able to produce energy much more efficiently than traditional technologies.
Decentralised energy networks
Decentralised energy is produced close to where it will be used, often using CHP systems, and distributed by a network of underground pipes. We are currently exploring how local heat and power could be generated and distributed around the borough using district heat networks.
In 2016 we appointed consultants AECOM to investigate the opportunity for delivering district heat networks in Merton. This work was funded by a grant from the Government's Heat Networks Delivery Unit (HNDU) and was completed over two phases. The first phase of local heat mapping and energy masterplanning was completed in January 2017 and the Network Development and Financial Modelling was completed in February 2018. The executive summary and full report are available for download.
Climate Change Strategy
Our adopted Climate Change Strategy and action plan (2014-2017) sets out how we, the council, and the wider borough can take action on climate change.
The strategy builds on the previous Climate Change Strategy (2009-2012) by outlining our aspirations for meeting the principles of the council's strategic objectives and providing a framework for an ongoing programme of action to tackle climate change in Merton
The strategy includes a series of actions across the following themes:
- Energy (both in the council and across the borough)
- Planning and development
- Sustainable resources
- Natural environment and greenspace
- Greening Business
Following our declaration of a Climate Emergency we will be developing a Climate Change Action Plan to take to Cabinet in March 2020. This will in turn inform Merton's Climate Change Strategy within the wider Environment Strategy.