Green Partnership Board

iLabs 3 & 4: 21st Century Mobility and Green Growth

Two more Innovation Labs have thrown up many more interesting ideas and potential proposals for Hounslow’s Green Recovery. 

21st Century Mobility

  • Clear communication is a key ingredient for behaviour change and there are lessons to be learnt from coronavirus. There needs to be clear messaging from central and local government to reduce car usage. How do we cement the reduction we have seen in the last few months? What role can a rewards system play in encouraging positive green behaviours? What role can education providers play in promoting new behaviours with youth and young children?

  • Cars are sometimes seen as a status symbol. Can we establish new green status symbols? Role models, like local footballers and celebrities, active in using electric vehicles and bikes could be part of a campaign to build this status.

  • There is work to do to change our perception of roads. It often seems like roads are built for cars, with other users, like cyclists, seen as an afterthought. The new starting point should be that roads are there to serve all users and priority should be given to those who don’t pollute or cause congestion.

  • In considering mobility it is also important to consider future logistics around freight movement and deliveries. Could prove an important subject when considering green economy solutions. Can the Council and it services lead by example? What alternative forms of delivery options may be available? Could automated vehicles provide part of the solution?  

  • People’s experience of new modes of transport can radically change attitudes. If people have the opportunity to try out an electronic vehicle, or even a high-quality road bike, a positive experience can make people think about how new modes of transport can be integrated into their lives. If a lack of experience is a barrier, what opportunities can the Council provide to remove this barrier? 

  • People are often more committed to the things they’ve built themselves. A Council backed bicycle self-build scheme could help with this and improve accessibility by reducing the cost. 

  • Bikes are being turned into electrical vehicles through retrofitting. Can the Council identify local companies that electrify bikes? Is this a gap in the market? Retrofitting is often cheaper than buying new.

A Heathrow demonstrator

Lots of people who live within a five or six mile radius of Heathrow airport don’t use a bicycle into work. There are many barriers for people to cycle to the airport and it’s generally acknowledged that cycling around the Heathrow ring road is a daunting prospect.  

Hounslow Council could establish a pilot project to address the barriers: improving infrastructure, improved journeys and links into Heathrow (tackling the current challenges for those who might want to cycle), behaviour change support to communities, options to tackle affordability, working with an exemplar business, and linked to any relevant local charities and see if we can create pathways into qualifications and employment. 

Green Growth 

  • The Council needs to clearly communicate its vision of green growth so that business can see how they can plug to provide solutions. 

  • We discussed accrediting local businesses by getting them to ‘sign up’ to our Climate Emergency declaration. A ‘Green Mark’ sticker could be awarded to display in shop proving the business is a low carbon business or committed to being one. This could be a way of rewarding businesses who transition to low carbon and to encourage other businesses to also do so. Forms of rewards could include access to procurement opportunities. 

  • Our discussion helped to refine some of the things we might ask for from central government. We heard about the London Recovery Board’s series of missions out of coronavirus, including the Green New Deal mission. These are the things we need to do now: financing, citizens engagement, and capital investment to support the early stages of that growth. This kind of support is the foundation for making projects interesting for large business investment. There is potential for new funding solutions to be found with improved understanding of the value of green infrastructure.

  • The Council must be an exemplar of green practice, demonstrating what it wants to see from others. We need to integrate green thinking in all we do and at every level. We heard about the training provider Carbon Literacy whose digital training raises awareness about the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday activities, and our ability to reduce emissions. Making such training available to all council staff could be part of demonstrating our leadership on green issues.

  • We talked about the need for councils to work together to manage waste. Lumps of things can be turned into thousands of waste streams. This is too much for one council, so different councils need to specialise in different waste streams. Jobs should be created that are linked to these material streams and local companies could be encouraged to employ people from the waste sector to develop the expertise to utilise the waste streams. There is a need to ensure Hounslow makes the most of its waste as a resource (Circular Economies) particularly from construction. 

  • Investing in a reuse centre, a place where people can take household items to be reused or upcycled. It’s important to bring such centres close to where people live. Can the Council work with companies who take in old furniture and clothes to maximise opportunities for upcycling and reuse? This could be a pop-up option for high streets or in an unused retail space(s).

  • There was a lot of discussion about maximising the potential of solar energy in Hounslow. The new Brentford stadium utilises solar, and we heard about the Greater London Authority’s new solar map and its aim to build two megawatts of power by 2030. The most efficient way of achieving this is by using commercial space rather than residential. Is there an economics-based argument we can put to local businesses as part of a wider campaign?

Hounslow's Green Enterprise Zone

Following on from previous iLabs, there was more discussion about creating a “Green enterprise zone”. Could this be developed on a site like the North Feltham Trading Estate? A virtual green district was also discussed to aid collaboration between green companies - creating an ‘advisory hub’ to signpost people to green businesses, like those handling solar panel installations and retrofitting.

Next steps

We will be meeting with residents via our Community Reference Groups on the 28 July. Members of this group will also help us refine and prioritise new ideas and solutions at our next session on low carbon neighbourhoods on the 5 August. We’ll go back to residents again, and in our final session on the 18th August we’ll set out our concrete projects for delivering low carbon neighbourhoods.

We’d like to thank all the contributors to our third and fourth iLabs:

Claudia Corrigan, London Councils; Peter Tilston, West London Waste; Tony Griffith; Councillor Guy Lambert; Councillor Hanif Khan; Councillor Katherine Dunne; Councillor Samia Chaudhary.

We would also like to thank the Council officers who made contributions from the following teams: Transport, Parking and Environmental Strategy; Procurement and contracts; Regeneration and economic development; Facilities, Fleet and Health and Safety; Public Health.

This work is being led by Victoria Lawson, Executive Director of Environment, Culture and Customer Services and Wayne Stephenson, Assistant Director of Environment and Culture.

For any questions please email Victoria Lawson or Wayne Stephenson 

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