We set up our sustainability team five years ago, with a brief to significantly improve the sustainability of the council and borough.
- Project: Enfield 2020
- Objectives: To make Enfield a better place to live, work and visit
- Timescale: 2011-2020
- Cost to authority: £600,000 ‘invest to save’ budget to establish the sustainability team. The team is now self-funding and more than covering is operating costs
- Number of staff working on project: 11
- Outcomes: 35% decrease in council’s carbon footprint in five years; sustainability team has brought £33m cost avoidance and added value into Enfield in five years
- Officer contact details: Jeff Laidler
Sustainability and climate change are concepts to which people often struggle to relate, so we always try to answer question ‘what’s in it for me?’ We’ve found it far more effective to use the lever of self-interest than simply asking people to do public good, as do most carbon reduction programmes.
The team has brought over £33m cost avoidance into Enfield in the last five years. Focusing on sustainability and self-interest is a no-brainer for the council, residents and businesses.
Lgc awards 2016
Our wide definition of sustainability is: managing your energy; regenerating the borough; supporting jobs and businesses; improving the local environment; reduce, reuse, recycle; and improving public health.
The council and its partners are investing more than £1bn, which includes more than 50 large-scale sustainability projects.
The first brick in the wall was to develop ‘Enfield 2020,’ a strategy to make Enfield a better place to live, work and visit. To deliver this sizeable agenda, we’ve developed a practical business model:
- Develop and deliver innovative energy projects
- Act as a hub to publicise the 50-plus projects from across council
- Share expertise and lessons learned.
We’ve filled a gap that no-one quite realised existed. It’s our motivation, innovation and ability to have an impact that have laid the foundations for change. This is shown by three case studies.
Before 2014, Enfield had no coordinated plan to help the 10% or 13,000 of our households that suffered from fuel poverty.
We secured £130,000 from British Gas to kick-start our strategy with fuel poverty charity National Energy Action. We also developed our ‘warmer homes’ strategy and action plan, persuading 15 partner organisations to join us. We improved the energy performance of 45 Enfield homes for residents with long-term respiratory illnesses. This made a big difference to people’s lives.
Smart homes is an innovative energy retrofit project, providing 75% grants to install solid wall insulation in private homes in six north London boroughs. The Enfield team secured £6.5m of grant funding from the government.
Enfield has seen the highest number of residents taking up the grants in the six boroughs, with 281 properties on track to get solid wall insulation. This will make significant difference to their lives, reducing their energy use and fuel bills.
The team also went a step further, helping local businesses take advantage of the installation work. This created London’s largest cluster of 20 accredited energy retrofit businesses. A local business that has benefitted is Ecologic Energy, which achieved £1.7m of extra sales and created five jobs.
Our innovation in community heating is having national impact. We were one of the first UK councils to set up a local energy company, and one of the only ones to be planning a city-scale heat network.
Energetik is 100% owned by Enfield LBC and was established in 2015. Our mission is to provide better value energy, which is reliable and environmentally friendly.
We’re planning to supply a huge cross-section of properties, from social housing to large commercial organisations. The first 40 homes were supplied with heat last summer.
The sustainability team helped to secure £80m of low-cost funding for the council to deliver a number of Enfield’s large-scale infrastructure projects, including Energetik. We’re the first UK council to obtain back-to-back investment from both the European Investment Bank and European Regional Development Fund.
Energetik will deliver a high-quality service by insulating our network to ‘gold star’ Scandinavian standards.
We’re also working to win the hearts and minds of local residents, so that they become advocates for this innovative project. This includes installing state-of-the-art and simple-to-use-smart meters in customers’ homes.
Enfield 2020 has shown that individuals can have a huge impact when working collectively. We’ve changed the culture of the council to such an extent that sustainability has become the day job, with a 35% decrease in the organisation’s carbon footprint in five years.
Jeff Laidler, head of sustainability, Enfield LBC