Image of a street in Lambeth.; Image of a street in Lambeth.;

London Borough of Lambeth Climate Action Planning, London

Climate action planning in the London borough of Lambeth

In 2019, Lambeth Council was the first London borough to declare a climate emergency. As part of this declaration, the council committed to reducing carbon emissions, adopting more sustainable practices and adapting to pressing climate challenges, such as extreme weather events. Lambeth Council wanted to take the lead in London and set a target to reach net-zero emissions from council operations by 2030.

Ambitious and community focused

Co-ordinated by the council and developed in collaboration with a wide range of community groups, businesses, organisations, and environmental groups, Lambeth’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) sets out 20 ambitious goals across five themes of climate action. It includes the case for action and encapsulates Lambeth’s vision for a net zero and climate resilient borough. By creating the opportunity for everyone to play their part, it sets measurable goals and sets a vision for a more sustainable future.

Arup was asked by the council to support the creation of its Climate Action Plan. Whilst our work involved deep levels of technical analysis, working with the big emitters in the borough and the council team, forming a strong connection with the community was an integral part of our approach. Although we drew on ideas from other successful projects, the actions in the plan needed to be localised and specific to Lambeth to be impactful. To achieve this, we engaged in a deep listening exercise.

Project Summary

85% of journeys made by walking, cycling or public transport by 2030

30%of open land and waterways naturalised by 2030

25%of kerbside space dedicated to enhancing resilience to climate change

Working in partnership

Having worked within Lambeth on numerous projects to engage the community in becoming more sustainable such as Rewild my City, Incredible Edible Lambeth and the Lambeth Schools Air Quality Programme, we built on our long-standing collaborative relationships in the borough and ran workshops with different stakeholder groups from environmental groups to housing associations.

Alongside Lambeth Council, we worked closely with ten key anchor institutions such as the National Theatre and Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, who collectively employ 56,000 people, to devise plans to reduce emissions, improve quality of life and increase biodiversity.

The borough has a diverse economic range and as such, we wanted to build upon the work of the Citizens’ Assembly to capture views from a broad cross section. To incorporate more voices of young people of colour from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, we also partnered with We Rise, an award-winning community business which empowers young people to create successful futures.

Arup took an inclusive approach ensuring a diversity of voices, insights, and lived experiences were captured in the development of Lambeth’s Climate Action Plan. ” Cassidy Travis Programmes and Partnerships Lead, Lambeth Council

Enabling more sustainable outcomes

After feedback that the young people from the borough were interested in the three areas of fashion, food and the built environment, working with We Rise, the Lambeth Council team and Southbank University (located in Lambeth), we collaboratively ran a series of workshops. These provided opportunities to experience working in food with Incredible Edible Lambeth and retrofit with Arup’s buildings team. 

From the feedback and these workshops, three economic pathways to a green job future were developed and shared with the Department of Education (DoE). This work provided examples developed directly by young people, which policy makers are seeking. By engaging with the Plan’s future custodians on what their own sustainable careers might look like, the Lambeth Climate Action Plan has input from a part of the community that is not often included in this process, hopefully giving a greater chance of successful implementation and of delivering more sustainable outcomes.

By working collaboratively with residents, community groups and large anchor institutions, we were able to develop a localised, bespoke plan and set deliverables which harnessed the ambitions of Lambeth, building on what was already in place, amplifying it and accelerating it. As a result, there is real ownership of the plan across all parts of the borough.

Aerial view of Lambeth Aerial view of Lambeth
The Climate Action Plan includes the case for action and encapsulates Lambeth’s vision for a net zero and climate resilient borough

Shaping sustainable cities

Our work with Lambeth informed the production of our next Climate Action Plan with Waltham Forest and the City of London Corporation. We’ve also supported the London Borough of Haringey with the development and implementation of their Zero Carbon Strategy, the Bristol One City Climate Action Plan and cities around world with 100 Resilient Cities and the EBRD Green City Action Plans.