It is official, Merton Council has declared a climate emergency.

The cross-party motion was passed unanimously at a council meeting last night (July 10).

Signed by the four party leaders and moved by Councillor Tobin Byers, it called on the council to declare a climate emergency and to develop an action in conjunction with businesses and residents to decarbonise the borough.

It will now seek to achieve carbon neutrality for the whole of Merton by 2050.

The cabinet member for adult social care, health and the environment, Councillor Byers, said: “The evidence on the impact of global warming is now undeniable.

"The scale of the challenge is unprecedented. I am delighted that the motion was supported by all four parties and was passed unanimously.

"We know climate change will impact negatively on the well-being of residents and the local economy.

"We must take urgent action to reduce carbon emissions, to keep the temperature rise below 1.5 degrees centigrade, if we want to avoid the worst case scenarios extreme weather will bring.”

Under the declaration the council has also pledged to make every effort to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2030. The council’s actions will involve work to reduce and decarbonise the energy used in all its 340 buildings, transport and contracted out services.

Cllr Byers added: “Merton Council has a long history of taking action on climate change, dating back to the development of the Merton Rule in 2003.

"Our most recent strategy, which has been in place since 2014, has already made a positive impact at reducing carbon emissions. However it is now imperative that this work is now stepped up and an action plan to meet the challenges we face is created.”

“The council has the responsibility to take a leadership role in tackling climate changes. However, as 97.5 per cent of emissions within the borough come from the buildings we work in and the vehicles we drive, the majority of which are outside our direct control, everyone has an important role to play.

"This is why we are setting up a working group which will actively involve residents and businesses.”

A Climate Change Emergency action plan is to be developed and presented to the council in early 2020. The council is set to launch an online survey and undertake engagement with residents.