A Member highlighted to the Committee some of the risks involved in adopting the City of London’s Climate Action Plan. He referred to a report by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit on the impact on of working from home and the levels of pollutions and the environment and the fact that Offices will remain heated regardless of people being in the offices or not. This is can increase the NOx emission by 12% in towns and cities, which is enough to offset the last two years’ worth of progress that has been made on traffic emission.
The Air Quality Manager for the City of London responded that gas consumption would increase substantially across the country, as usual, people will be at work in the daytime. The City of London aims to discuss with some of the businesses within the City of London on how to overcome the increase in gas consumption in offices. A report will be presented to the Committee in the January 2021 meeting.
A Member of the Committee noted the need for a living document guided by a strategy that will allow room for discussion, debates, and adopt as time goes forward. This was followed by another Member who asked if the hidden effects of working from home are considered in the report.
Another Member noted that the Barbican is mentioned as a sizeable polluting area due to the building's design and raised concerns that with 2000+ properties in the estate, many people are working from home. This will undoubtedly affect the increased carbon level within the Estate and if this has been taken into account.
The Air Quality Manager for the City of London responded that the Barbican Estate obtains its gas from the Citigen. From an air quality perspective, it is easier to work with main source in mitigating the pollution. In terms of Barbican, it will not be a significant increase; however, the Air Quality Manager agreed to look further into this.
The Chairman requested that an update to the Committee is provided on the planned business engagement and noting the Alderman’s comment about the long-term solution on a living document in the Committee’s January 2021 meeting.
A Member stated that the Government has announced that Free Ports will be introduced around the country, and it is understood that the City of London will be bidding. He asked if Officers could provide an update on where the City of London stands with its application on the Free Ports.
The Director of Markets and Consumer Protection responded that the City of London is not directly involved as the actual ports will have to apply for Freeport status. However, the City of London is supports the LondonGateway and Tilbury ports in their bid. The Director of Markets and Consumer Protection is part of a working group, and they are arranging a non-disclosure agreement so that information can be shared between different parties. The Committee Chairman and Chair of Policy & Resources will be briefed on the issue soon.
The Director of Markets and Consumer Protection assured the Committee that the Department is involved with the process. The Chairman asked if the Committee can be kept updated with the progress on this.
Electric Vehicle Congress Awards
The Committee was informed of the electric Vehicle Congress Awards achieved the by the Built Environment Department for the fleet electrification strategy of the year. The award recognized the hard work put in place by the Transport team and their collaborative working across departments within the City of London.
The Chairman asked as to when the City of London is expecting its delivery of the electric cleansing vehicles. The Business Improvement & Strategic Group Manager responded that it is anticipated to be delivered by January 2021. As the vehicles are the first of their kind, a number of tests and approvals are required. Officers are working with the Driver & VehicleStandards Agency to ensure all the tests and approval are carried out soon.
The Chairman noted that the City of London would be the first local authority in the country to have a fully electric cleansing vehicle.