Merton Council has been ranked as joint second in London by Friends of the Earth for its climate change action.

But the local authority says much more work must be done to avert a climate catastrophe.

New research by the global environment group, to chart the most climate-friendly areas in the country, gave Merton a performance rating of 80 per cent for work in response to the climate change emergency. Friends of the Earth assessed all councils in a number of categories including renewable energy, public transport, lift sharing, energy efficiency, waste recycling and tree cover.

In July, the council unanimously declared a Climate Change Emergency. Under the declaration the council pledged to achieve carbon neutrality for the whole of Merton by 2050 and to make every effort for the council to be a carbon neutral organisation by 2030.

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Councillor Byers, the cabinet member responsible for the environment said: “We’re delighted our work so far on climate change has been recognised by such a leading environmental organisation.

"However, we completely accept that we urgently need to ramp-up our efforts to help avert a catastrophe from extreme weather conditions. We’re taking action, but we can’t change things on our own.

“We’ve had a fantastic response from the community to our climate change emergency declaration, and many highly committed people with a vast amount of professional expertise have now come forward to be in our Climate Action Working Group. The group is now working on a plan to help us to meet our ambitious targets.

“Our climate change work for future generations also aims to make the borough a cleaner, greener and healthier place for our residents to enjoy now. Like Friends of the Earth, we also recognise, that while councils and communities working together play a vital role, we do need the Government to take bolder steps to ensure the whole country is carbon neutral by 2050.”

The council added that the key areas of action moving forward are switching to low carbon energy sources in buildings, reducing car journeys, encouraging the use of electric vehicles, the consumption of sustainable products, green investment and the creation of green spaces across the borough.