Council determined to cut pollution further.
By Julia Gregory, Local Democracy Reporter
A green watchdog gave Islington a high score in making progress to become a net zero council but said air quality needs to improve.
Climate Emergency UK rated the inner London council fifth out of 128 comparable urban local authorities in its annual climate action scorecard ratings.
Overall Islington scored 58 per cent. The council aims to reach its net zero target by 2030.
The inner London council was penalised for high amounts of nitrogen dioxide, which exceed World Health Organisation targets.
The air pollutant is produced by burning fossil fuels and can cause respiratory problems.
A council spokesperson said many similar urban councils were also marked down by the watchdog for exceeding air pollution guidelines.
They said: “We remain determined to improve air quality across the borough.”
Climate Emergency UK praised the council for collaborating with others to meet its goals and involving residents and schools.
The council’s work to help businesses decarbonise was also scored highly.
It achieved a low score for biodiversity, but was praised for cutting back on grass mowing programmes to keep habitats for wildlife and for its award-winning parks.
The council scored highly for work to retrofit its homes to make them more energy efficient. It also has a service to help residents retrofit their own properties.
Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s executive member for environment, air quality, and transport, said: “We’re pleased to have ranked as one of the top five single-tier councils in this year’s climate action scorecard – and are determined to improve our ranking next year.”
She added: “We firmly believe that to create a more equal borough, we must also create a greener future where local people have cleaner air to breathe. That’s why we’ve set ourselves the target of no longer contributing to climate change by 2030.”
Champion said the council has helped residents switch to more efficient energy and introduced seven Low Traffic Neighbourhoods to help reduce motor transport on Islington’s streets.
Other measures include boosting recycling on the council’s housing estates and planting more trees “to improve our already impressive canopy cover”.
“The work that we’re doing has already achieved tangible results – over the last two years, we’ve seen borough-wide improvements in air quality, we’ve been recognised as the top inner-London borough for our action to create healthy streets for three successive years,” said Champion.
She added there was a 49 per cent drop in carbon emissions in Islington between 2005 and 2021.
Champion added: “We know that there’s more to do to create a greener, more equal future, and we’re committed to working hand-in-hand with local people to achieve that.”