Westminster is set to become carbon neutral by 2040 after overwhelming support from local councillors to declare a climate emergency.

The declaration, agreed at a Full Council meeting held this evening (18 September 2019), commits Westminster City Council to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and for the whole city to follow suit by 2040 – ten years ahead of Government targets.

Climate change and the wider environmental debate are key issues for Westminster’s residents. As the authority covering the capital of the capital, Westminster faces unique challenges. The borough’s 8.9 square miles of central London alone attract one million visitors each day and produce more carbon emissions than the whole of Cardiff or Newcastle.

Westminster also suffers from some of the worst air pollution and the climate emergency declaration follows the introduction of a number of trailblazing policies, such as the first diesel surcharge, a schools’ clean air fund, and schools air quality inspections in a bid to make the city cleaner and greener.

Speaking at the council’s meeting Tim Mitchell, Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council warned:

“Our targets are ambitious but setting the target is the easy bit. This is the biggest challenge facing our generation and the hard work starts now.

“Barely a day goes by without another story about the pressing need to cut carbon emissions. Climate change is a leading concern for our residents and as a council we have to lead. We have already made strides with our environmental campaigns, like #DontBeIdle, the first diesel surcharge, a schools’ clean air fund and more EV infrastructure than other London borough. But there is much more to be done.”

The council will soon be publishing a new carbon reduction strategy and is introducing new campaigns aimed at encouraging residents and businesses, but also our visitors, to be cleaner and greener in the coming months.