Ed Miliband at 20th Century House
Ed Miliband at 20th Century House

Westminster Labour were delighted to welcome Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, Labour’s Shadow Climate and Net Zero Secretary in Parliament, to the West End this morning to talk about Labour’s ambitious plans to tackle carbon emissions from the built environment, which accounts for 86% of Westminster’s overall carbon emissions.

Ed Miliband visited 20th Century House in Soho Square that is under threat of demolition (see petition here) to hear about what Labour would do if they win control of Westminster Council on 5th May to support retrofitting and challenge unnecessary demolition in Westminster.

Ed Miliband said “At the heart of Westminster Labour’s campaign is their commitment to a green new deal and that’s the same for Labour nationally with our £28bn per year climate investment pledge. We have a massive plan to insulate and retrofit homes across our country, 19 million cold drafty homes where people are paying much more for their bills and emissions are higher than they would need to be. We can cut bills by an average of £400 if we embark on this plan.”

Westminster Labour Group Leader Cllr Adam Hug said “If Labour in Westminster Council on 5th May we will take urgent action to reduce emissions from the built environment as part of our ambitious but deliverable Green New Deal for Westminster.”

West End Candidate Paul Fisher said “It’s wrong that a historic local building like 20th Century House is under threat because planning policy makes it too easy to demolish rather than refurbish, at great loss to local heritage and at the cost of enormous carbon emissions. Labour will stand up for a ‘retrofit-first approach’ and continue to call on Royal London to think again on 20th Century House.”

Westminster Labour announced some of its key plans in its ‘Green New Deal’, launched in November 2021, that have been built on in our 2022 election manifesto. If Labour win the Council on 5th May we will:

  • Introduce a Net-Zero Test for every major decision, which will assess their social, economic and environmental impacts to help make more informed choices and improve outcome.
  • Implement sustainable procurement policies, including extending the Net-Zero Test over time to all procurement decisions, such as with major contractors.
  • Set up a Westminster Climate Citizens’ Assembly to ensure residents’ voices are heard and put consultation and engagement at the heart of climate policymaking.
  • Decarbonise the Pimlico District Heating Undertaking (PDHU), which accounts for 37% of overall Council emissions on its own.
  • Introduce a retrofit-first policy including a retrofit test (linked to our wider Net Zero Test), ensuring that any new Council development proposal fully assesses options for retrofitting and adapting existing properties before demolition and reconstruction is considered.
  • Strengthen and update the Council’s Environment Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), in particular with regards to planning permission for buildings. They will:
    • Embed the ‘retrofit-first’ principles in wider planning policy and find new ways to encourage retrofitting in Westminster’s 56 conservation areas in Westminster.
    • Require energy assessments for net zero on all major schemes and push developers to achieve reductions on Part L (energy efficiency requirements) in smaller ones.
    • Push for zero carbon for major developments, as defined in the Mayor of London’s London Plan, and will review the offset price payable when this is not achieved.
    • Scrap Westminster’s policies that require onsite car parking and instead set the presumption that new developments should be genuinely car free.
    • Work with developers to find ways to reduce emissions and carbon usage during both construction and the lifetime of buildings
  • Set up a taskforce of the Council, private landlords and housing associations to work on retrofitting homes, ensuring they meet Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).
  • Accelerate the retrofitting of social housing stock in Westminster, including the 39% of Westminster’s Council Homes stuck with single glazed windows.
  • Scale up existing Council-led programmes to create green jobs.
  • Issue a Local Climate Bond, a crowdfunded tool to support community greening.
  • Review the carbon offset price in Westminster.
  • Green the Council’s £1.3bn Pension Fund.
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