I was intrigued to learn that major works at City of London Church, St Andrew by the Wardrobe, have resulted in this Church becoming the first carbon neutral Church in the City and probably one of the first Grade 1 Listed Churches in the country. Quite enterprising for one of the City Churches dating back to the middle ages, destroyed in the Great Fire and rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren and again blitzed in the Second World War and rebuilt. It was exceptionally interesting for the Livery Climate Action Group Home - Livery Climate Action Group (liverycag.org.uk)
members to visit and explore the Church with Archdeacon Father Luke Miller and Bob Wilson ( the mastermind of the plans). Like many Churches it was in need of a new heating system and old standalone heaters (ready to be recycled) spoke of a temporary fix since 2015 - as well as lots of jumpers. The work included rewiring, new lighting and a new heating system that was installed with what looks like seamless joinery and plasterwork. Phase 2 will see the project finished, equal access, redecoration and some further improvements.
The Church was previously heated with under floor heating which had broken down and was not working. There was no gas supply to the premises and ancient burials and lack of physical space around the building meant it was not possible to consider ground source heat pumps. Solar panels would not provide sufficient power for such a large space. The solution was to be air source heat pumps with additional electric radiators in the larger areas of the Church itself. Seven air source heat pumps have been installed in the roof space. Prone to vibrate, they need to be affixed to a solid structure but clearly as a listed building this must not cause damage, nor noise and interference for any neighbours. There is a large amount of equipment to attenuate the sound - so everything is possible. There is now much more insulation in the roof but the area is not a sealed box as the air is drawn in from one side of the Church passes through the pumps and is expelled on the other side. An up to 15 degree differential in the temperature of the air generates the energy to heat the building. The back up electric radiators work as needed and are fed off the green tariffs from Parish Buying to be efficient financially as well.
It is these air source heat pumps based in the roof space that are remarkable - but are good examples of what we all need to do and this project has shown that you can! As a result of these works St Andrew by the Wardrobe faces a much more positive future with new groups lined up to occupy and utilise the spaces with ease and a net zero carbon footprint. The Church of England (a leader in tackling climate issues around investments) have committed to net zero carbon by 2030. There are lots of resources on their website and I am sure that many other Churches in the City and beyond are working on this right now. See St Andrew’s from 3:54 on the films on the C/E Environment page Church of England Environment Programme | The Church of England and there is another film about the project here.
One of the most frequent questions that I was asked in my last few weeks as Sheriff is what happens next?
Whilst I am not intending to continue my monthly newsletter sent out via MailChimp, I thought it would be informative to answer that oft asked question and unpick the work of an Alderman or this Alderman.
My immediate plan, post Shrievalty, was to have a good two-week holiday in Italy- where the sun shone, and I had a very relaxing time ( no photos).
The diary, however, did not stop and in the last couple of weeks I have been able to engage with the many organisations and interests that I hold dear.
The work of the Livery Climate Action Group https://liverycag.org.uk/ that I lead has been going for just one year since its launch in October 2021. The core group met to have a full review of its work to date and consider strategy for the year to come. We now stand with 54 Livery Company members and another 25 in the pipeline and at various stages of commitment. Where do we go next? The meeting was stimulated by an opening talk from Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli who has great expertise in climate and scientific issues and solutions. He set us a challenge! The outcomes were many, but we want to widen our reach across the Livery and so will be engaging further here and we need to recruit a few more volunteers to help in communicating and guidance. We will be holding an in-person conference in July 2023,
Earlier in the day the LCAG visited the first net zero carbon Church in the City – St Andrew by the Wardrobe. See my LinkedIn piece on this.
Board and committee meetings are a consistent part of my life and one of the most invigorating and challenging that I sit on is the Museum of London Board where I also Chair the Audit and Risk Committee. The Board met on 19th October and tackled an exciting array of topics including the need to close the galleries at London Wall prior to the move to West Smithfield together with issues of fundraising and presentations on branding and collections. We welcomed four new members of the Board who all added to the views and understanding around the table. Don’t miss a visit to the site before 4th December. https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london/whats-on/last-chance-visit-us?series=Last%20Chance%20to%20See
The Mansion House has hosted two great lectures that I was able to attend. The first in honour of the late Sir Roger Gifford and given by Mark Carney UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sGF15Pleog
The second by the Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Tony Radakin with the transcript here. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/chief-of-the-defence-staff-lord-mayor-of-london-defence-security-lecture
Both underline the convening power and connections that the Lord Mayor and City Corporation have in creating events that are headed by the leaders in their fields and with an audience that is equally distinguished. Following on the topic of defence I was pleased to take part in a roundtable with the IBDE chaired by Sir Roger Carr and attended by many Ambassadors and business leaders. As the Dutch Ambassador stated about the event that it was a “working session on political diplomatic and economic implications of Russian military aggression against Ukraine.” A very enlightening discussion.
With my road safety interests and expertise I attended the National Courier Awards at the IOD. I was delighted to congratulate so many of the logistics and delivery industry who were recognised by their peers for exceptional work - be it in transformational leadership; individual couriers or the special prize this year called EIIR Merit that recognised work around the late Queen's funeral and mourning period. The City of London Police were given an exceptional award for their engagement and communications with the business community that allowed deliveries to continue and provided a very vital service. I was honoured to present this to City officer, Superintendent Patrick Holdaway from the National Business Crime Centre. https://instituteofcouriers.com/news/general-news/item/2206-national-courier-awards-2022
Connected to issues of road safety and ease of travel, I chair the City Corporation’s Active City Network. A group of businesses interested in active travel that is safe and efficient for their businesses and staff. We met on 20th October and discussed the new plans for the City’s Transport Strategy. We will be having a focussed feedback session to critique the proposals and give vital feedback to the City’s officers in their planning. https://www.activecitynetwork.com/. The City regularly consults on these matters that are critical to the ease of access across the City. The current consultation is about pedestrian priority streets and you can access it here. https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/streets/pedestrian-priority-programme
November is on the horizon is dominated by the Lord Mayor’s Show. The new Lord Mayor will be Alderman Nicholas Lyons who served with me as Sheriff at the Old Bailey. Part of the process involves obtaining the approval of the Monarch and this is given in a wonderful ceremony at the House of Lords in the Robing Room. The approval is given by the Lord Chancellor on behalf of the King. The Lord Chancellor at the time was Brandon Lewis. The City will be well governed for another year.