Hampstead School plans share offer to fund solar panels and tackle climate emergency

Originally posted in the Ham & High, written by Sam Volpe

In partnership with Camden Council and the community group Power Up North London (PUNL), Hampstead School in Westbere Road is looking to fundraise in order to boost the community’s green credentials.

Rooftop solar panels will enable the school to minimise its carbon footprint and the project – which is part of the town hall’s response to the Citizens’ Assemblies it held in 2019 – will also see local people and businesses “take a stake”, literally, in clean energy in the borough.

Headteacher Jacques Szemalikowski said: “I’m really proud that Hampstead is pioneering solar energy in Camden schools as it’s not only great for the environment, but also saves us money.

“This scheme builds on our commitment to the planet as we have already installed solar panels on our main East Building. I encourage parents, communities and businesses to buy a share in a project that will contribute to cleaning up our air and saving the planet.”

Cllr Adam Harrison, the town hall’s environment chief, said: “It’s no secret we’re facing a climate emergency which is affecting us fast, so it’s more important than ever we find innovative ways to tackle it.

“We know we must go further, but we’re determined to do everything we can to be front-runners in sustainability and ensure the borough is one of the greenest in the capital.”

Cllr Harrison’s words were echoed by his cabinet colleague Cllr Angela Mason – who holds the education brief. She said the scheme was a “great opportunity”.

PUNL is a grassroots organisation that has helped co-ordinate two schemes like this so far in Highgate and Kentish Town respectively, but Hampstead is the first school it has worked with.

Its director, Jo Macrae, said: “PUNL is working to support the creation of greener and more resilient communities, and to accelerate London’s journey to zero carbon.

“If the investment target is reached, PUNL will manage the project, including delivering all stages of installation on the roof space of Hampstead School, free of charge.”