Experts have told Greenwich Council what it must do to reach its near-impossible ambition of reaching a carbon neutral footprint by 2030, with transport and building demands posing the biggest barriers.

The new evidence based report has suggested an extensive plan of action to increase CO2 reductions nearly fourfold over the next 20 years, and will now be used by the council's cabinet to develop a fully costed carbon neutral plan which will be consulted on in late 2020.

Key recommendations include improving energy efficiency in buildings, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and increasing the use of electric vehicles, among other things.

The report also stresses that "the accelerated timeline necessary to achieve decarbonisation by 2030 means that progress towards this target must start immediately," although these actions still won't go far enough to achieve a 2030 net zero trajectory.

In June 2019, Greenwich Council became the latest authority to declare a climate emergency, but there has been widespread controversy over the incoming Silvertown Tunnel which has been greenlit by officials but is still attracting criticism from campaign groups.

Road transport is named as one of the two biggest polluters alongside building heating and electricity demand in the report, in which experts have looked at the borough's current emissions and forecast what the reduction could be by 2030 if action is taken to tackle these two key issues.

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In 2015, Greenwich's total emissions were 860kt CO2, and the report forecasts that if the council makes the minimum number of changes recommended in the report, the 'baseline scenario', by 2030 emissions would be reduced to 628kt CO2, a reduction of 27%.

If the council makes all the changes recommended - the 'maximum ambition scenario' - emissions in Greenwich would be reduced by 77%.

This would require an almost complete decarbonisation of heating in buildings, car usage going down by 45% relative to 2015 and battery electric vehicles making up 51% of the car fleet.

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The report states: "To achieve the target of carbon neutrality by 2030, we suggest that by 2023 at the very latest RBG would need to implement a comprehensive suite of highly ambitious policies, in some cases with trade-offs, enabling the borough to further accelerate decarbonisation relative to the national 2050 target."

Council leader Danny Thorpe said: "Climate change presents the significant challenge to communities globally, nationally and in Royal Greenwich, and the challenge of addressing it is unprecedented.

"It’s easy to commit to something without fully understanding the implications and this report sets out the choices we face individually and collectively as we work towards developing a full action plan in response."

"Over the next few months, there will be debate within Council as well as engagement with communities and key partners across the borough which will help us to develop effective policies to meet the challenge."

Around 25% of the borough's total emissions come from offices, vehicles and housing owned by the council, so councillors have set up a 'climate emergency network and partnership' so residents, businesses and organisations can help develop the authority's plans.

A £1 billion contract to build the Silvertown Tunnel was signed by TfL in November, but has been called an "outdated, climate-wrecking toxic tunnel" by campaign groups.