Zero Carbon Luton
Welcome to the first edition of the Zero Carbon Luton newsletter. In this issue:
What is Zero Carbon Luton and what am I reading?
Some highlights from 2021
Luton Council votes to divest its pension fund
Take part in the walking and cycling survey
Introducing Zero Carbon Luton
Zero Carbon Luton is a not-for-profit, community based agency supporting Luton’s target to be climate neutral by 2040. We are focused on solutions and practical actions, seeking to be a positive voice for change within the area. If you’re working on climate change in Luton - whether that’s as a business, an individual or community group, or within local government, we’d love to know what you’re up to.
We’d like to help by sharing your stories, creating opportunities for networking, and building a community of citizens working together to deliver a zero carbon Luton.
Practically speaking, Zero Carbon Luton is incubated out of Youth Network, putting young people at the heart of Luton’s emerging green economy. It is facilitated by Raheed Salam at Youth Network, and Luton-based writer Jeremy Williams.
We are ambitious for Luton, and our vision is for a town with clean transport, better homes, quality green spaces, and a community facing the generational challenge of climate change with confidence and determination.
As Rob Hopkins of the Transition Towns network is fond of saying:
“If we wait for the government, it’ll be too late. If we act as individuals, it’ll be too little. If we act as communities, it might be just enough, just in time.”
Climate highlights from 2021
A handful of climate headlines from last year, and here’s to more like this in 2022:
The blocks of flats in Marsh Farm are a prominent landmark in the town, and
were visibly transformed as a multi-million pound cladding project was completed.
Vauxhall announced that their entire range will be electric by 2028. “We are on a journey to reinvent Vauxhall and heading towards a net zero CO2 future” said managing director Paul Wilcox.
Perhaps you’ve seen this on a street near you, but did you know that over 6,000 street lights were switched to LED bulbs? The £2.25 million programme is saving money, energy and carbon across the town every night.
Local campaigners and residents, including Extinction Rebellion Luton, worked together to successfully oppose plans for a water bottling plant at Butterfield Green.
Bedfordshire University was certified platinum by EcoCampus, and ranked 8th out of 154 in People & Planet’s ranking of sustainable universities.
After switching to 100% renewable energy and installing new heating, Luton Airport was awarded level 3 in the global Airport Carbon Accreditation scheme – a step towards the goal of carbon neutral ground operations by 2026.
Chapel Farm, just outside Luton, is home to a new energy storage facility from Harmony Energy. 49.5 megawatts of Tesla batteries will help to balance the electricity grid and manage increasing amounts of renewable energy in the area.
Also outside Luton, but close enough that we’re going to claim it – Whipsnade Zoo are planning a huge solar array in the shape of a lion.
Luton council votes to divest pension fund from fossil fuels
In November 2021 Luton Council passed a motion requesting that the Bedfordshire Pension Fund divest from fossil fuels. It received cross party support. Bedford Council followed suit in January, and the pension fund will now withdraw its funds from fossil fuels and bring investments in line with climate targets.
Have your say on walking and cycling
Active transport will play a vital role in a sustainable future, and Luton Council are currently running a consultation on walking and cycling in the town. This will inform future infrastructure plans, so it’s a good opportunity to feed back on how you travel at the moment, and how you’d like to travel in future.
We’re committed to running this newsletter on a monthly basis throughout 2022 - and beyond if it proves useful. So please send us your stories for February. What are you up to that you want people to know about?
Send your stories to Jeremy Williams: firstname.lastname@example.org