Developing low carbon zones to help cut local emissions

“These energy busting zones will create an armada of flagships across London, focused on finding the most effective ways to rapidly cut carbon and slash energy bills.” Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
From press releases - 1 February 2011 09:00 AM

The Mayor’s low carbon zones programme RE:CONNECT is supporting a community approach to cutting the capital’s carbon footprint. The programme was designed to show the potential of a complete approach to reducing a community’s CO2 emissions by involving local residents, communities and businesses.

RE:CONNECT has been running since winter 2009. Its aim is to cut carbon emissions locally, helping London meet its target of reducing CO2 by 60% by 2025 and contributing to the Mayor’s vision to make London the greenest, big city in the world.

Ten London boroughs were chosen to receive funding and support from the Mayor and the GLA to create local low carbon zones (LCZs). Each of the zones has a target to reduce carbon emissions by 20.12% by 2012 and is developing innovative delivery models to do so.

The key aspects of the programme are to:

  • leverage private sector investment into low carbon zones
  • show new and innovative ways to reduce energy use
  • demonstrate a low carbon future now
  • bring together local authorities, community organisations, residents, businesses and utilities companies to work in partnership in a targeted geographical area.

RE:CONNECT’s ambitions have been quickly copied by central government and the programme has attracted interest from academia, energy suppliers, trade bodies and government officials from cities in Belgium, France and Japan.

Read about RE:CONNECT’s successes so far, at both programme and local level.

Sharing learning

The lessons of the programme are also being shared between communities across and beyond London through the website Project Dirt.

The zones – a local approach to cutting carbon

Each low carbon zone contains a mix of residential, public and commercial property, but is distinctive in its make-up, communities and location. This means we can understand how developing approaches to carbon reduction work in a range of circumstances.

A local approach to carbon saving has many advantages. It offers communities a real freedom to tailor-make plans to fit with the specific challenges and opportunities of their neighbourhood. Giving communities the chance to design and manage their plans to reduce carbon emissions means they can better integrate services and deliver more meaningful behaviour change in their neighbourhood. A local approach also provides economies of scale in terms of raising funds and speeding up delivery by partners.