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How Haringey are involving their residents in climate action

The London Borough of Haringey, wanted to put the community at the centre of their Climate Action Plan. Using Commonplace, they sought the opinions of local residents and businesses to understand their views and ideas to help reach net zero carbon by 2041.

Between October 2020 and January 2021, Haringey worked with Commonplace to raise awareness of their draft plan. They wanted to tap into the knowledge of local residents and use the feedback and ideas to help shape a better, more inclusive strategy to tackle climate change.

Engaging with the Community

Public participation plays such an important role in the effort to achieve net-zero carbon. For interventions to be effective, it is crucial that people are aware of them, and to have the full support of the community. That's why, Haringey was keen to share a draft action plan with the community, to help surface new insights based on local knowledge and get community buy-in for their proposals.

The image below maps out Haringey’s plans for reaching net-zero carbon by 2041. The plan is clear, demonstrating key dates and the wider London context in relation to the borough, and the outcomes needed for homes, transport, and low-carbon energy at each stage. 

Haringey's pathway to net zero carbon by 2041

The council’s Climate Change Action Plan demonstrates how plan-making can be a purely collaborative process and one that is shared and recorded within the public domain. In openly sharing their proposals and collecting public opinion, Haringey wanted to be accountable for ensuring what needs to happen at a local level to increase local low carbon action. This transparency is an essential part of fair and inclusive plan-making.

They initially planned to engage with locals through in-person and engagement events but due to the restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, these could not take place. Instead, the community engagement was hosted online via Commonplace and a participatory budgeting tool.


Communicating the Climate Change Action Plan to the community 

The council hosted their action plan using Commonplace's Design Feedback tool. They were able to break down various elements of the plan into bite-size chunks that local residents could easily access, understand and comment on. It also gave residents the opportunity to understand the scope of the plan, and what wasn't included.


Haringey Climate Change Action Plan

They also used the opportunity to provide information on their externally led carbon reduction priority tool, getting the community involved in where they think the budget should be spent on carbon reduction projects and in what order. 

Take a look at Haringey's public consultation here.


Low-carbon community projects

One of their areas for development is low-carbon community projects, to showcase the power and passion of the local community to other community members but also to empower further local projects. To get the community's thoughts on existing or potential low-carbon community projects, they embedded a Community Heatmap under this proposal. 

Haringey Climate Change Map

The Heatmap allowed users to pin their ideas and suggestions directly on a map of the borough. Haringey wanted to use this tool to empower the community to support, build, and get involved in community low-carbon projects from the outset. This bottom-up approach to climate action represents the type of connected, sustainable future Commonplace is proud to facilitate and be a part of. 

What Haringey learned from the community

These tools helped to spark the conversation about climate action in Haringey. In total, the project collected over 700 contributions from the public, suggestions such as the creation of new parklets and solar panel installations across the area. Over 70% of respondents are very concerned about climate change and over 85% stated that climate change needs to be a major priority.

The high number of responses also indicated that transport is an important issue that requires action for emissions reduction. Actions need to be considerate to all users but also be bold to enable the shift from motorised vehicles to low-carbon modes of transport and foster a safe, clean environment for people to live and move around in.

The community requested the council to prove itself as a leader, to demonstrate through its own estate, housing stock and commercial portfolio that the council is prioritising carbon reduction in all decision-making.

Barriers to retrofitting were raised, including the cost, lack of knowledge, lack of funding, or access to trusted tradespeople to deliver the works. Other barriers, such as the leaseholder structure and abilities to ‘opt in’ to retrofit initiatives were also noted.

Within the open-ended questions, respondents raised that the ecological emergency and need to include biodiversity should be featured within the climate emergency discussion and form a twin strategy.

Next steps

In March 2021, Haringey’s council unanimously voted to adopt the Haringey Climate Action Plan (HCAP) setting out how the borough will reach net zero carbon by 2041.

Adopting the Climate Change Action Plan does not mean it ends there. A huge buy-in needs to take place from local businesses, schools, community groups and households to not only raise awareness, engage but also encourage everyone to take action. Further engagement will therefore be forthcoming to ensure the Net Zero Carbon objective can be achieved.


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