Submitted by ian on Sat, 06/02/2021 - 11:25


Here is the text of the letter that Brent FoE has sent to the Council in response to the Consultation on the Climate Emergency strategy. A pdf can be downloaded or viewed here.

13 January 2021

Councillor Krupa Sheth
Brent Civic Centre

Engineers Way



Dear Cllr Sheth,

We are writing as Brent Friends of the Earth with a response to the draft Brent Climate Emergency Strategy document. Firstly, we would like to record our appreciation of the work and commitment that you all put in to producing this document. We know that Brent is ahead of many of the Local Authorities in making a plan; most of the points that you have made are very welcome. As you know, local response to climate change is an area of work that National Friends of the Earth have been working on for some time and have used their collective expertise to produce guidelines for Local Authorities. In accordance with the advice from National Friends of Earth, Brent Friends of the Earth would like to make the following recommendations:


  1. The lead officer and the lead councillor for combating climate change should provide well-publicised updates on progress at least every six months, possibly at public meetings. A baseline should be included as well as clarity on what is being measured.

  2. Very clear strategies are needed about how to engage, and stay engaged, with as many residents as possible using multiple media and methods.

  3. The Council should find a cost-efficient way to provide expert advice to organisations and businesses on reducing their waste and carbon footprint.

  4. The Climate Emergency section on Brent Council’s website ( should be clearly signposted from the home page. The site should include all the positives that the necessary changes will bring.

  5. There should be a great deal of publicity about getting down the emissions that the Council and Brent businesses and residents directly control, AND, equally clear information about how people’s buying choices affect climate change. The Council should celebrate any actions taken to reduce emissions. It should point out how buying less frees up money for other things – or maybe leads to working fewer hours. The Council should try to nudge people into doing the right thing and provide continuous education around the climate emergency.

  6. The Council should include mitigation and protection measures in the strategy, especially for the most vulnerable because i) people will need protection and ii) It will highlight the risks we all face.

  7. The Council should ensure sustainability for all new build projects by using the BREEAM standard (see There are at least four significant projects (two Brent owned) that have been recently passed by planning/building control without the application of this standard. The projects need to be revisited to ensure they are BREEAM compliant.

  8. Safer cycling - there is nothing in the draft strategy about cycling and road infrastructure other than proposals on bike hangars and stands; on this point, Brent regulations should not treat private vehicle parking more favourably than the siting of cycle hangars, as is presently the case. On safety, we would like the Council to work closely with Brent Cycling Campaign on expanding the number of cycle lanes, and on other cycle safety improvements.

  9. Trees – the current plan says that in the first year, “we will seek to expand our tree planting programme”. National Friends of the Earth are asking the UK Government to double tree cover i.e. the existing tree-canopy; Brent should adopt this as a minimum target. Review the quality of tree pits and develop a maintenance scheme for tree watering, for example ‘adopt a tree close to you’ in addition to the Brent Council tree maintenance. Use arboretum volunteers to inspect new tree plantings and create an alert system so the Council can hold the tree contactor to account. The Council should encourage locally-based community gardening schemes in any places where there is bare soil.

  10. The Ogren scale should be used to ensure that only non-allergenic trees are planted. Appropriate species should be planted according to location.

  11. There seems to be nothing in the first-year plan about food consumption though it is mentioned earlier in the Strategy. Vegan meals should be the norm in schools and in any food outlet that the Council controls - though we would not expect non-vegan options to disappear entirely.

  12. We urge the Council to make use of the considerable resources available from National Friends of the Earth with ideas about reducing climate change, which also provide links to other sources of advice.

  13. We were disappointed not to see anything in the Strategy about divesting the Brent Pension Fund from fossil fuel investments. The Fund has made some positive moves, making modest investments in renewable energy and a low carbon fund – but in order to minimise the effects of the Climate Emergency all energy investment finance should be going to renewables and the Council’s index-tracking investments should be switched to funds tracking indices which exclude fossil fuels.

  14. The Council should actively help outside organisations (like Brent Pure Energy) on renewable energy projects through better co-operation from their legal and planning departments. Please refer to Haringey Council and its Lordship Rec Community Hub heat pump project.

  15. The Council should encourage, and work towards, the timely phasing out of single use plastic. It should reduce waste in general by encouraging reduce/reuse/repair and restore instead of recycling. 60 to 70% of recycled material goes to incinerators which emit toxic fine particles on top of creating toxic ash. Emissions from burning plastics are even worse than burning fossil fuels. Incinerators are a way to keep the status quo. The only way forward is to promote and help create circularity at every level.

  16. The Council should develop and support sustainability platforms, online and in person, encouraging initiatives, bringing people together (people could sign up and the platforms should be actively promoted throughout the borough). Sustainability issues could be shared, discussed, help and solutions looked for, workshops organised. Ideally, it creates a space for multilateral conversations and a diversity of topics around sustainability, brings people and businesses together, working towards real solutions together (e.g. if on the same street, various shops can accept the same containers or local people could share expensive tools). Help could be found to improve sustainability and solutions can be shared.

  17. In the draft First Year Delivery Plan, Theme 3 (homes & buildings) just talks about the Council’s own stock but we know that the vast majority of homes are either owner-occupied or privately rented. It is important to provide encouragement and support to make privately owned and rented housing more energy-efficient, as soon as possible.

  18. We suggest that the Council commits to pressing the government and other relevant. agencies to invest in green jobs and in the other necessary national measures to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

  19. The leadership of Brent Council should join UK100 (, the network of local authorities working towards sustainability and carbon Net Zero. In this way Brent can share knowledge, collaborate and be part of petitioning the UK Government collectively on the measures that are needed to create a sustainable environment.

Yours sincerely


Lucy Duncan
Brent Friends of the Earth



Bunting stall in Queens Park

Submitted by ian on Mon, 18/10/2021 - 10:22

The final of our stalls making bunting with messages to send to COP26 took place outside the Queens Park Farmers' Market on October 17th.

It was a lively event, with adults and children joining in enthusiastically to decorate bunting pennants which will stay up outside Salusbury School for a while.

Below are some photos from the event, as well as a short video compiled by Martin Francis.



Bunting from Tulip Siddiq MP
Bunting from Tulip Siddiq MP

Brent FoE Flood and Nature Walk 26th September - report and pics

Submitted by ian on Tue, 28/09/2021 - 11:10

Nineteen people turned up for our walk along the Wealdstone Brook and River Brent, looking at the way this natural feature had been built upon and hidden, and highlighting the possible danger of flooding as climate change continues.

Martin Francis pointed out the route of the waterways, sometimes hidden under high tower blocks, with further development ongoing. Some parts of the walk took us through harsh concrete landscapes, some through much more pleasant environments, with well-used open spaces and some attractive meadowland (though in some places it was apparent that the invasive Japanese Knotweed still posed a threat).

The group paused at the pleasant shingle riverbank, where people made paper boats, which were adorned with messages about climate change, and launched into the water. Martin was also on hand to catch the boats downstream in his nets. Other boats made by Cllr Janice Long and Ruth Kitching, will be sent to Glasgow to be incorporated into an installation to be erected outside the COP26 meetings.

A more detailed account of the walk and issues behind it can be found on Martin's blog here.

Photos below are by Barney Laurance:


Martin talking

Our bunting stalls in Harlesden and Wembley

Submitted by ian on Fri, 10/09/2021 - 19:31

Here are some pictures from our stall in Harlesden on 10th September and Wembley on 25th September. Lots of engagement with people of all  ages - children were particularly keen to send a message about what should be done to stop climate change. More reporting and pictures at….

 Next stall on October 17th in Queens Park. Details on front page.



bunting8   bunting3