‘We can’t win air pollution battle alone’ Tower Hamlets Council warns in the Docklands & East London Advertiser

Afsheen Rashid, Co-Director of Repowering London presenting at the East London Community Energy Fortnight event

The public is being urged to support local authorities across east London to tackle both fuel poverty and air pollution together.

Time was running out to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent by next year, Tower Hamlets Council warned an open forum of community groups staged at Whitechapel.

Tower Hamlets was one of the first local authorities earlier this year to declare a ‘climate emergency’.

The warning came from its ‘clean air supremo’ Rachel Blake, cabinet member for air quality and alleviating poverty.

“We’ve only got a limited time to tackle the climate emergency,” she said.

“We’re on track to meet our commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, while working towards being a ‘carbon free’ authority by 2025. But we know there’s a lot more to do.”

The forum brought groups from all over Tower Hamlets and neighbouring Hackney and Newham to thrash out how to tackle fuel poverty, energy inefficiency and air pollution together.

“This is not a battle we can win on our own,” Cllr Blake added. “I’m always inspired by the network of determined people in east London.”

The groups presented examples of community projects dealing with fuel poverty and using carbon offset funds to improve the environment.

One example was Bromley-by-Bow centre which has received a grant from the London Community Energy fund to install solar panels to reduce carbon emissions from the charity’s buildings.

The council wants to use carbon offset funding for projects like tree planting, bio-solar energy and collective ‘energy switching’ advice.

Meanwhile, it’s programme of boiler replacements to households on low income to help reduce ‘fuel poverty’ has been named the best scheme in London.

It was awarded ‘best small scale project’ title at last week’s Greater London Energy Efficiency awards.

Mayor John Biggs said: “This scheme helps families to lower their energy costs and alleviate fuel poverty while also reducing carbon emissions. These make a real difference to those most in need.”

The council was also shortlisted for ‘best local authority’ for an energy scheme offering free efficiency visits, boiler upgrades, insulation for school buildings and grants for small businesses to reduce their ‘carbon footprint’.

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