A group of activists descended on Lambeth Town Hall yesterday to call on the council to clean up its act and to demand some answers to its appalling record on energy efficiency and the environment.
We adopted a half-term holiday theme to highlight the fact that you'll find warmer temperatures in the Town Hall than say a winter-break destination like Acapulco. Despite the freezing temperatures outside we soon warmed up in our balmy surroundings and were able to happily recline on our beach towels while eating choc-ices. As usual all the council staff were in their shirtsleeves with the windows wide open. The reason? On a recent visit to a council meeting we recorded a temperature of 27.4ºC (Guidelines commonly suggest temp should be maintained at between 18ºC and 21ºC). How can such energy inefficiency be justified at a time of such severe service cuts? The council is literally burning taxpayer money.
Despite claims that it is taking the issue of energy efficiency and climate change seriously in its recent Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2012 Report, there is scant evidence. It needs to do a lot more than clad a few old pipes and tell staff to turn off PCs overnight.
The evidence below suggests Lambeth Council has a disregard, if not utter contempt, for taxpayer value for money, energy efficiency and climate change:
- The council appears not to have a current Display Energy Certificate for the Town Hall. The one on display as of 20/2/13 was almost 5 months out of date. It is mandatory to display a current EPC. What could the council have to hide?
- According to its old energy certificate the council’s energy use is getting worse year on year, and is a rather inefficient Category D.
- Although the council currently spends almost £9m a year on energy it appears to have ignored most of the recommendations in its last Advisory Report (retrieve it here using postcode SW2 1RW) which told the council to stop simultaneously heating and cooling the Town Hall, and install a condensing boiler among a range of High Impact, affordable measures. The council were also told about a range of financial assistance. None of this appears to have been acted on.
- Lambeth Council languishes near the bottom of the league tables for the government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment. It has a rank of 1117 and a “score” of 931, almost half that of neighbouring Wandsworth. It’s not just bad for your pocket, it’s bad for the planet as well.
- The council doesn’t just have one of the worst recycling rates for household waste in London – it’s also one of the worst in the country. With a rate of 27.9% it lies 323rd out of 353 ranked authorities. The top councils have household recycling rates in the 60s.
- Lambeth recently tried to cheat us on its recycling rate by including in the figure all the black bag bin rubbish that it sends for incineration! The move was illegal and the council were censured by London Mayor Boris Johnson of all people.
- The council languishes near the bottom of the London league table for food waste collections with around 10% of the kerbside collections of leading authorities in the capital.