Achieving Net Zero

achieving net zero housing development

2018 brought one of the hottest summers and coldest winters on record, with temperatures jumping from -5°C at Heathrow in January to 21.2°C at Kew Gardens in February and up to 35.3°C in Kent during June[1]. Simultaneously, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, setting out the urgent need to limit global temperature rise to avoid an increasingly unsafe climate, with high risk and severity of floods, droughts, extreme heat and other extreme weather conditions.

The climate crisis has never been better understood or caused more widespread concern. Businesses are analysing risks and reviewing strategies; children are on strike from school; ‘normal’ citizens stand ready to face arrest for peaceful protest; and at least 28 London boroughs have declared climate emergencies.

These developments point to an appetite for action, and London is on the front foot. In 2016, the Mayor’s London Environment Strategy exceeded national policy by committing London to becoming a zero carbon city by 2050. 2018’s 1.5°C Compatible Plan provides a road map for the way ahead, setting carbon budgets for the key areas of housing, transport and workspace.

The transition to a zero carbon London will impact nearly all aspects of life: from the design and planning of the homes and neighbourhoods we live in, the infrastructure we build, fuel and use, to the frequency and mode by which we travel, and the commodities and waste we produce and dispose of.

In leading the transition, London’s built environment professionals have a key role to play. From planning for resilience through connecting buildings to clean heat networks and encouraging behaviour change, Future of London’s network is on the front line, and cross-sector, cross-discipline, cross-party working will be key to securing London’s sustainable future.

Related project: Managing London’s Exposure to Climate Change

In numbers
68,499 London homes at risk from a 1 in 30-year surface water flood event
80% Londoners experienced overheating in their homes in 2015
1/4 London’s Overground rail stations at risk from a 1 in 30-year flood event
3.5  Working days lost per year with a 3°C rise[1]
650 More deaths than average during UK’s 2018 heatwave[2]
Climate risk is financial risk: a 5°C warming could result in £5.45trn in losses – more than the total market capitalisation of the London Stock Exchange.[3]

Past Achieving Net Zero events:

8 Mar 2021
Achieving Net Zero report launch
Report press release and launch video

16 Apr 2020
Councils & the Climate Emergency webinar
Event write-up and video

14 Jul 2020
Net Zero Housing New Garden Quarter: Video Visit + Discussion
Event write-up and video

8 Sep 2020
District heating networks and decarbonisation: Video Visit + Discussion
Event write-up and video

28 Sep 2020
City Makers Forum: London’s Green Recovery
Event write-up and video

26-30 October
Achieving Net Zero Digital Conference week
All event write-up and videos

18 Nov 2020
Net Zero is Not Enough
Event write-up and video

Related content

achieving net zero developments, goldsmith street

Achieving zero carbon homes

Guest blog post from Sarah Birt on how cities will deliver on their climate emergency declarations through achieving zero carbon developments. New housing developments, in particular, are under pressure to balance ‘net zero’ with affordability and project viability, which is easier said than done.

Achieving net zero in the wake of Covid-19

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale and complexity of climate emergency. Future of London’s Achieving Net Zero report sets out the active role we can all play and provides practical recommendations to respond to climate change.

achieving net zero report launch

Achieving Net Zero report launch

FoL’s report celebrates London’s sustainability milestones but examines what more the built environment sector, as a contributor of 40% of the UK’s carbon footprint, needs to do to support built environment sector change and encourage community participation in achieving net zero in the wake of Brexit and Covid-19.

Net zero is not enough

As part of London Climate Action Week, on Wednesday 18 November, Future of London looked beyond net zero. We discussed the roles of green infrastructure and regenerative architecture, the importance of tackling both health inequalities and environmental inequalities, and how we can better involve local communities and better collaborate across sectors.

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