CORRECTED: Southwark Approves Hundreds of Fossil Fuel Homes in Six Months

CorrectionInformation from this press release was based on Southwark council leader Kieron Williams’ written answer to a public members' question at council assembly in November 2021. It has since been revealed that Cllr Williams’ answer was incorrect. The council homes referred to in this press release, which rely on fossil fuel, were approved before July 2021 and not after, as Cllr Williams incorrectly stated. The Leader’s error highlights the lack of clarity in Southwark’s cabinet about the Climate Emergency and what the council is doing about it. The Southwark Liberal Democrats remain concerned that these council homes will be dependent on fossil fuel for decades to come.

Southwark Council approved hundreds of homes in the past six months that are fossil-fuel reliant for heating, Liberal Democrat research revealed on Tuesday.

Enquiries from the Southwark Liberal Democrats has divulged that 400 new council homes will rely on fossil fuels for heating.

These houses represented 41% of the total amount of homes that were planning approved since July.

Southwark’s climate change strategy, published in the same month, stated that there is an urgent need for the borough to move away from gas boilers as the primary source of heating.

The authority’s own research shows that buildings generally cause 79% of carbon emissions in the borough.

The council announced its Green Buildings Fund in October, which will invest in retrofitting its housing in order to lower carbon emissions.

However, at the November council assembly, Southwark Labour voted down a Liberal Democrat amendment that proposed low carbon standards on all new homes on the authority’s land.

Commenting, Cllr Hamish McCallum, Liberal Democrat leader said:

“Planning policies are one of the major pieces of the jigsaw when it comes to the climate emergency. Southwark Labour have been unable to hold developers to account and clearly do not set high enough standards for their own buildings. They voted down the opportunity to boost these specifications in November. We are now, instead, stuck with homes that will emit unnecessary emissions through fossil fuel heating in the years to come.”

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