Event Meeting Notice

November 2020 Meeting — Electric Vehicles in London’s suburbs

Thursday, November 19, 2020
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM online

Please register on Eventbrite at

How can we successful implement Electric Vehicle (EV) strategies in London’s suburbs?

Part of London Climate Action Week

14- 20 November 2020 #LCAW2020 #EVsOuterLondon

As London boroughs begin to implement actions to accelerate the take up of electric vehicles in their climate emergency plans – join us to explore what key issues challenges and opportunities will London’s outer boroughs face

London is seeing a slow but steady shift to the electrification of transport. The past year has seen more than 1,000 new charge points installed at petrol stations, in town centres and retrofitted into street lighting columns. More than 2,000 electric black cabs are now on London’s streets and Transport for London runs Europe’s largest electric bus fleet.

While mode shift is key to cleaning London’s air, reducing congestion, vehicle related injuries and greenhouse gas emissions, there will ultimately still be some essential vehicles on the road. These vehicles need to be zero emission. Electric vehicles in particular, will play a key role in London’s green recovery post-pandemic. They produce zero tailpipe emissions, are quiet and has and can create new jobs in battery manufacturing across the UK.

London is some way ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to charging infrastructure, with 28.8 charging points per 100 electric cars (compared to the national average of 12.5). Wandsworth is the London borough with the highest availability of chargers, with 34 per 100 electric vehicles however Outer London boroughs have the fewest charging points, with Harrow having the least with just 14. This works out as 1.7 per 100 electric vehicles. However, more of Outer London’s households have off-street parking, and home charging should be a more viable option. Also only 40 per cent of inner London households having access to a car, compared to 70 per cent in Outer London.

On average, car owners drive slightly more than six kilometres on a typical day, but those living in Outer London travel, on average, nearly 2km further per day (close to 7km) than those from inner London (5km per day).

More information on TfL and EVs

London EV Infrastructure Delivery Plan (PDF)

DfT Decarbonising transport: setting the challenge

This event will be held online: please register on Eventbrite using the link above.

Event Meeting Notice

October 2020 Meeting — Barnet’s Waste Policies

A presentation and discussion around London Borough of Barnet’s existing and future waste policies

Thursday, October 15, 2020 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM online

October’s BCAG meeting will explore opportunities to reduce the environmental and climate impacts of waste streams in the London Borough of Barnet, including waste avoidance and minimisation, re-use, recycling, composting and the use of waste streams to generate energy.

**A full agenda will be available shortly. Following registration a zoom link will be forwarded nearer the time of the event.**

Please register on Eventbrite at

A list of policies and information notes from Barnet Council on their waste programmes follows below.

We hope to see you on the night!

Barnet is one of seven London local authorities making up the North London Waste Authority (NLWA).

Barnet council’s waste policies are set out in this 2018 information note: Barnet Council Household recycling and waste policies

Further information is provided in the Barnet Reduction and Recycling Plan (September 2019)

The council’s key programmes and progress against them is set out in Barnet’s Environment Delivery Plan (published in March 2020) – the previous year’s report can be seen here.

Charging for garden waste collections (a report in this policy can be seen in the following Environment Committee paper from January 2020)

Barnet webpages also exist for the following:

Barnet Council suspended brown bin food waste services in November 2018

A note on reducing food waste

Waste collection in flats


Reducing carbon emissions from Barnet’s homes

by Syed Ahmed

A great blog by housing energy efficiency specialists Parity Projects on the workforce required to see homes on a zero carbon pathway – and the retrofit tasks and skills required to upgrade homes. As a reminder of the challenge just in Barnet – never mind the UK – there are 160,000 homes in the borough. The latest data shows that through the Mayor’s energy efficiency scheme have supported the retrofit of exactly 200 homes in the borough since 2016 (see data here). The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) programme is the Government’s main household energy efficiency programme. The latest data published by the Department of Business Energy and Industry (BEIS) shows that just over 5,000 homes received an energy efficiency improvement since this new phase of the scheme began operation in 2015. (See BEIS statistics for March 2020 here – tab 4.4 of the spreadsheet there).

So – over the past five years or so, being generous, some 5,500 homes in Barnet have had some form of energy efficiency improvements installed through a targeted programme. In addition – approximately 1.6m boilers are replaced every year across the UK. Barnet’s likely share of this would be about 10,000 or so per year – 50,000 over the past five years – which would all have improved the energy efficiency of homes.

Whilst this level of activity is to be welcomed, none of the work currently being undertaken in existing homes achieves anything near the zero carbon standard needed to fully address the climate emergency. Much deeper retrofits are required, and the scale of action needs to be significantly increased if we are to reduce emissions from the domestic sector across Barnet and all other parts of the UK.

Prioritising energy efficiency in Barnet’s homes will boost opportunities for local building services companies, insulation firms, plumbers and other associated trades. These are exactly the SMEs currently being hammered during the lockdown. Boosting energy efficiency will be good for Barnet’s homes, for tackling fuel poverty, for resident’s health and supporting local businesses and employment.


Post -Covid 19: What Will Be The New Normal?

by Tony Sarchet

A crisis as serious as the current pandemic has put normal life on hold. At the same time, it raises certain concerns about exactly what kind of normal life we should be hoping to return to once the crisis has passed. A lower carbon one would be nice.

Here are a few questions that have occurred to me, prompted by the changes we have all been living through:

Now that we’ve all been forced to get used to conducting meetings from home using platforms such as Zoom, will companies in future enthusiastically revert to spending large sums of money sending their employees across the country, continent or world to check into expensive hotels in order to transact business? Or will some proportion of them decide to forego the jet lag, the travel time and the expenditure? What will this mean for projected future airline capacity? Will the money these airlines are already pleading the government to bail them out with turn out to be money well-spent?

And now that companies have been forced to make arrangements for many of their employees to work from home, how many of them may occasionally prefer not to have to undergo the crowded and stressful daily commute? Will this have an impact on future passenger numbers?

And now that many smaller companies which previously supplied produce exclusively to restaurants and cafes have started offering home deliveries of fresh fruit and vegetables of impressively good quality, how much of a chunk of the big supermarkets’ consumer business might they retain? And wouldn’t this be good for both growers and wholesalers, and maybe even help to reduce food miles?

The new normal seems to be a place where there is such a thing as society, where people in medicine and the caring professions are regarded as heroes. I wonder what else will be discovered – or rediscovered?

Event Meeting Report

Report on meeting with Alex Gilbert

12th February 2020, 6.30pm, St Mary’s Church, Hendon Lane N3 1TR

Present: 27

Welcome By Philip Davison and reading of poem – “The meaning of existence” by Les Murray.

Syed Ahmed gave an update on Barnet Climate Action Group (BCAG)
We agreed to link ourselves to the Friends of the Earth Climate Groups which will give us access to information and resources
Charles Wicksteed had offered to build a BCAG website. This now exists in skeleton form. It can be found at Claire Martin is happy to run @barnetclimate twitter. [Update: this page used to say “Actually @B_C_A_G”, the old name, but now it is indeed @BarnetClimate (Ed)]
Syed Ahmed, Jeffrey Newman and Philip Davison met with the Barnet Director of Environment, Geoff Mee, Adam Driscoll and Robert at the council offices in Colindale. There is a desire to actively promote dialogue. The climate message needs better coordination. There is an issue of politics in this borough (!). It was acknowledged that information for businesses and residents was hard to find on the website. GM and Barnet Environment are taking these matters seriously.
Letter to Theresa Villiers – a work in progress with Green Christians Barnet.

Presentation: The Future of Transport and Energy in London, Alex Gilbert

Alex is an investor and advisor and focuses on opportunities within Clean Technology, Future Infrastructure and the Energy Transition.

Alex acts as an independent ‘Green Infrastructure’ investor and advisor, focusing on: the ‘energy transformation’; clean-tech investment; and the financing of smart, low carbon, sustainable cities.

He is currently curating, commercialising and delivering the energy projects that will assist in the transformation of TfL; London’s largest and most significant energy user.

The context – increase in powers of Local Authorities and cities with decline at national level. The direction is the rise of the city state. London has notable cohesion.
TFL – working for innovative integrated infrastructure. TFL is a transport authority but much more beside. It has power and influence to make an impact on the city greater than similar organisations in other cities eg building 10,000 homes – the most active housebuilder in London – operating 17 modes of transport. With integration it can achieve as low carbon as possible. There is need to support SMEs, local enterprises and logisitics – 500million packages come into London.
What is the future of the city? More congestion, more deliveries and returns. There is a need to join up freight fleet organisation corporate sellers, streets and modes of transport.
The way we order is important – bulk buy, local drop offs.
Target is to have 10,000 banks of lockers impacting both the environment and community.

Q – next day delivery – we are used to it but is it necessary?

Transport and energy.
Commercial development: TFL has some 6,000 acres
Waste heat capture: fuel poverty is a big issue, along with the movement to low carbon homes. Working on capturing heat from the tube both to get it out of the underground system and also use it to heat homes
Renewables wherever possible – using rooftops for solar. Feasibility of trackside solar?
Electric vehicles: charge point hubs.2040 mayor strategy is 80% journeys not by car. Demise of the car in the inner city? TFL to lead on building hubs. Infrastructure not like functional patrol stations and not piecemeal development but rather strategic placing.
Electrification is essential – buses 2030 and zero carbon rail.

Q – is proposal to increase air quality in the tube? Yes! Air quality is a big issue. Problem is cleaning stations and old trains and tunnels. We are though not in the tube for that long. Looking at sucking particulates out of the air. Ultimately new trains.
Q – local transport issue West London Orbital railway (Cricklewood to Ealing) The tracks are already there
Q – Electric Vehicle chargers in Barnet, TFL thoughts.
How do we drive down car ownership and what will replace it? TFL talks to all boroughs. There are different types of charging, slow (home), fast and rapid (50KW+). Rapid charging is closer to filling with petrol.
TFL concentrate on those who have to drive – taxis and fleets – public will be less than 1/3. Co-locate with bus hubs, elockers and ebikes. There is a danger of EV congestion as ULEZ expands. Aim is to decrease use of cars.
TFL housing developments are all car free.
Q – terrace houses parking and charging. Need to rethink future of fuel. Need to provide a service – public charging facility.. Possibility of shared taxi-type transport. With latest technology pick up on demand. Increase in charging points means increase in electricity supply – is that all renewables?. City planning – private hire taxi option with car share and ride share. In Netherlands developments have 30 flats with 4 shared cars.
Hubs with top quality facilities, possibly local solar. Offer many opportunities to charge and dynamic pricing eg solar in middle of day for free.
Pressures in grid are huge. Decarbonising electricity required – still using fossil fuels.. Essential national question – keep decarbonising the grid.
Q – e-cargo bikes: TFL has a freight strategy stepping down ultimately to cargo bikes for the last mile (the most expensive part of the system)
Q – storms and resilience plans of TFL and flood prevention. There is team focusing on climate change, adaptation & mitigation. Also house building.
Q – cool tubes? Adaption to climate change challenge also an opportunity eg waste heat.
Q – phone charging lockers at Victoria station. Revenue £100K per year yet got rid of…terror threat!
Nov 29 5.035million journeys a record.
Heat – old stock. Need for deep tube upgrade, Northern line is deepest tube in world.
Q – orbital route. Is it necessary?
Realism necessary. Possibilty of trams in outer boroughs
Local transport and get rid of short journeys across London
DLR change in communities astonishing
Opportunities new communities city energy etc

Event Meeting Notice

March 2020 Meeting — Clara Bagenal George CANCELLED

Due to Covid-19, this meeting has been cancelled

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 18 March 2020 7-8.30pm at a NEW VENUE – the Older Women’s Cohousing project in High Barnet. [PLEASE NOTE THIS IS ON A DIFFERENT DAY TO THAT PREVIOUSLY ADVERTISED]

We are delighted to have Clara Bagenal George of the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) present to us on the ‘Climate Impact of New Buildings in London’.

Clara was instrumental in establishing LETI which is a network of over 1000 built environment professionals that are working together to put London on the path to a zero carbon future. The voluntary group is made up of developers, engineers, housing associations, architects, planners, academics, sustainability professionals, contractors and facilities managers. More on Clara and LETI’s work can be found here –

Following Clara’s presentation there will be a Q&A session as well as an update on BCAG’s forward work programme.

We look forward to seeing you there!


Directions to Older Women’s Co-Housing

It’s a 10 minute walk from High Barnet tube station. Stay on the right hand pavement & walk up the hill to Barnet High St.

Turn left into Union St, just past Boots on the corner. 5b is on the left about 30 metres up.

You can register on Eventbrite to let us know that you are coming, or just turn up on the night.

Eventbrite link:

Event Meeting Notice

February 2020 Meeting — 12th Feb 6:30pm

[Update: a report on this meeting is now available at ]

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

St Mary-at-Finchley Church, Finchley
Hendon Lane
N3 1TR

Thank you to all those who attended an excellent January 2020 meeting which included a presentation by Brian Cutherbertson, Head of Environment and Sustainability for the Diocese for London.

Please note the slightly different times for this meeting (running from 6.30pm to 8pm).


6.30 pm Welcome and reading

6.35pm Update on Barnet Climate Action Group (BCAG)

6.45 Presentation: The Future of Transport and Energy in London, Alex Gilbert

Alex is an investor and advisor and focuses on opportunities within Clean Technology, Future Infrastructure and the Energy Transition.

Alex acts as an independent ‘Green Infrastructure’ investor and advisor, focusing on: the ‘energy transformation’; clean-tech investment; and the financing of smart, low carbon, sustainable cities.

He has worked in sustainable investment throughout his career – responsible for sourcing, financing and delivering high social & environmental-impact opportunities – and isworking with developers, financiers and governments to support their future infrastructure.

He is currently curating, commercialising and delivering the energy projects that will assist in the transformation of TfL; London’s largest and most significant energy user. Alex has a degree in Economics (First Class) and a Masters in Advanced Energy and Environmental Studies (Distinction).

7.30pm Taking things forward

Future meetings: future dates and presentations.

8pm close

You can register on Eventbrite to let us know that you are coming, or just turn up on the night.

Eventbrite link:

Event Meeting Report

January Meeting — Brian Cuthbertson

13th January 2020,  St Mary’s Church, Hendon Lane N3 1TR



Present: 28
Apologies: 5

• Jeffrey Newman welcomed everyone and introduced Brian Cuthbertson, Head of Environment and Sustainability at the Diocese of London

• Syed Ahmed, Energy for London, talked about decarbonising existing buildings.
There are 3.5 million buildings in London so decarbonisation is a challenge. They provide 1/3 of London’s carbon footprint. ¾ of that energy is used for hot water and heating and 90% of this is provided by gas. The key is energy efficiency. Currently it is poor – ¼ of London homes are in the lowest  EPC band.

There are 4 unique challenges for decarbonising London.
1. High proportion of solid wall homes
2. High proportion of flats
3. High proportion of private rented homes
4. High proportion of houses in conservation areas.

Non-domestic properties produce 40% of carbon emissions in capital – there is no government strategy for SMEs.
40% of non-domestic properties in lowest EPC category
£3.7 bn on energy bills in London of which £3.1bn is London businesses. 30-40% is simply wasted.

Highest rate of home retrofit was 2012. Money is available but funding cut by 90%. Need to quadruple the uptake of retrofit to get to net zero.

• Brian Cuthbertson, Head of Environment and Sustainability at the Diocese of London.
Church of England as an organisation is far behind where it ought to be. We must not be downhearted! Prophetic voice is coming rather from Greta Thunberg and XR.
Carbon targets vary: XR is 2025, many LAs 2030, government 2050. CofE is proposing 2045 which is arguably not bold enough.
Efforts relating to carbon reduction and climate change need to be embedded within wider environmental objectives, the three main ones are:
1. Climate Change
2. Biodiversity
3. Waste production especially plastic.
These are all connected. Mitigating one can be negative on another so we need to be very canny and wary of bandwagons an example being Gordon Brown and the enthusiastic encouragement of diesel cars or encouraging biofuels that lead to deforestation.
Different people engage with different issues. Plastic is popular because easy to visualise.
We need to plan transition but there is no end point eg abolishing fossil fuels is not like abolishing slavery. The end point is not as clear as it seems and we need to respond  to new circumstances as they arise.
What would we do if we fail?
In the technical challenge there are gaps in what we can do. We could do everything we set ourselves and find that climate change is beyond control, but we have to keep going – faith, loyalty and justice. We must not be diverted but we must be realists.

It is vital to work as a team and draw in stakeholders, councils, schools, aid agencies work with and through people. The Church needs to set an example as an organisation and then spread ripples into members’ lives. We face hard choices on food and flying for example. These are common issues. The Church must not preach but present people with choices they can intelligently address and decide what is right (not what is simply comfortable or expedient). This means being realistic in ambitions eg dates for decarbonisation 2025/30 if the policy direction is not shared by country. Government and business dictate the pace of decarbonisation eg  electricity grid.

There is a necessary reliance on offsetting in order to meet national target. Green tariffs will change but predicting the future is very difficult. Intelligent/realistic guesstimate required for policy/practical decision now eg for churches whether to replace a boiler with a more efficient gas boiler now. Government still subsidises fossil fuel.

Gas is vital in London and UK. There are two ways to decarbonise: use hydrogen which is effectively carbon neutral or increase biofuel/biomethane. Moving from gas to electricity needs to balance removal of gas boiler with increase in electricity burden, as with electric cars – adds to electricity demands. Best source of renewables is offshore windfarms.
Most people in the UK think that most people in the UK do not like wind farms! It is not true!  There is a lot of ground to be made up.

There is a problem with decision making. Solar panels in churches is very difficult in terms of planning permission. It is OK if they are completely invisible. Planning is likely to beat down plans to up to half of what was wanted. On an unlisted building planning is not required in certain circumstances but if the site faces a road it may be needed. Have to deal with LA planning officers effectively working against Council climate emergency. National planning policy and lawful application affected by judicial process that looks to the past.
Heat pumps have potential.
It is important to engage hearts and minds of congregations/communities and all pull in the same direction. Communication is key – an understandable message, expressed in simple terms to enable people to respond. We need to do very big things but it is hard until we get consensus. Positive egs smoking ban or drink driving. But much more and much wider action in our lives is necessary.

• Group Discussion
Q – does CofE use green energy supplier? Yes, Parishbuying energy basket (with Total!)

Q biofuel production – could we use European farming surpluses/lakes? Biogas comes from biodigestion. Barnet has gone backwards on food collection and anaerobic digestion. Barnet can get back by 2022. Disposal is actually cheaper in biodigestion!
More damaging though is unrecyclable material in recycling. If in doubt put it in general waste!

Q Meeting with Theresa Villiers connecting with specialists.

Q what countries are doing best and what can we learn? Costa Rica good. Scandinavia not as good as it seems. UK claims it is a leader but is in fact a laggard though ahead of comparable countries.. All countries face different challenges and resources eg China carbon emission is massive and per person higher than UK but govt gets climate change – limits to enacting policy even in a totalitarian state. Countries need to understand one another. US, president a climate change denier but states and cities and some corporates are leaders.

Q biodiversity. Wildlife in UK under severe threat – depletion of species and habitats animals particularly threatened. This is problem in its own right. Intensive farming and pesticides aggravated by climate change. It is possible some plant life will benefit but animals will struggle. Churchyard diversity is important. Needs to be managed. Churchyards are evenly distributed across the country and become refuges and stepping stones for species distribution. There is general drift northwards. We can encourage habitat and maintenance for most under-threat species eg bees and encourage other kinds of pollinators. See Waltham Forest pollinator strategy.

Q – winning hearts and minds is it individualism vs collectivism? Is compulsion necessary? Power of LA in planning. Councils make arbitrary decisions. Decarbonising food production very difficult. It is heavily dependent on fossil fuel. Building in concrete. Necessity of consent.

Q coastline and threat to sea life especially birds

Q – Church of England and poor parish maintenance of buildings, houses and churches. There is a big gap between best and worst.

Q – waste and incentives. Good example from cashback at supermarkets in US.

Q – church owned land and PV/wind turbines. Diocese of Truro are doing a lot using glebe land for environmental projects.

Q – consultation on building regulation “Future Homes” website gives help if we wish to respond.
Try watching Apocalypse Cow (George Monbiot) on Channel 4.

• Details of Next Meeting – Wednesday 12 Feb 6.30pm-8pm [see february-2020-meeting-12th-feb-630pm]