Boaty McBoatface: Polar ship travels up Thames

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The RRS Sir David Attenborough polar research ship – commonly known as Boaty McBoatface – has moored in London ahead of the Cop26 climate change summit next week.

The ship will be stationed in Greenwich until Saturday October 30 as part of the borough’s Ice Festival, which aims to educate about the work of the British Antarctic Survey and improve understanding of climate change.

Though visitors will not be able to go on the ship itself, it will be one of the only opportunities to see it up close before it embarks on its first research mission to the Antarctic.

It comes as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan prepares to head to COP26 next week in his new role as chair of the C40 Cities climate leadership group.

Ahead of Cop26, Mr Khan will convene the first ever London Climate Change summit on Thursday afternoon alongside London Councils leader Georgia Gould, which will bring together London’s leaders and businesses to discuss how to achieve net zero in the capital.

The Mayor of London is expected to announce a £7.5 million investment from City Hall into community-led environmental projects, which will include retrofitting homes, installing solar panels and installing air quality monitors.

Ahead of the event, Mr Khan said: “Climate action is about building a greener, healthier, fairer and more resilient city and ensuring future generations can thrive. Making positive changes to our homes and streets will benefit everyone, particularly those Londoners who experience the worst effects of toxic air and climate change. We’ve already made great progress - from cleaning the air with the recently extended Ultra Low Emission Zone, to ensuring all new developments are net-zero carbon through the London Plan.”

Projects in Camden and Kensington and Chelsea have already been awarded £1.42 million each from the new “Future Neighbourhoods” programme, which will be match-funded by each borough respectively.

Meanwhile Greenwich, which is hosting the RRS Sir David Attenborough this week, has revealed details of its own carbon neutral plan to coincide with COP26.

Sarah Merrill, Greenwich Council cabinet member for environment, sustainability and transport, said that “we are really keen that there are proper actions” taken to tackle the climate emergency.

She said: “We’re in the middle of building 800 carbon neutral council homes, we’re changing all the street lighting over to LED, we’ve got a £4 million grant to retrofit certain public buildings and schools with solar panels and LED lighting, and we’re developing some apprenticeships out of that.

“There are various measures being introduced in conjunction with the GLA and the Mayor [of London] – traffic measures. But the big thing, for me as a cabinet member, is what we do about gas boilers and the emissions coming from domestic and public buildings. That’s where we really need Government support.”

Dan Thorpe, leader of Greenwich Council, said: “It’s brilliant to be working in partnership [with the GLA] to deliver 21st century council housing in London which is zero carbon and properly sustainable. We’ve also worked with the GLA on the implementation of the ULEZ and some of those other London initiatives, as well as trying to do more stuff together on energy.”

All of this work is part of the Mayor of London’s pledge to make London a carbon neutral city by 2030.

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