Campaigners are calling for Islington Council to help those burdened with rising costs and to reduce carbon emissions by amending strict restrictions on listed homes.

Leyla Boulton and Anne-Marrie Huby have teamed up with environmental campaigners at Islington Alliance in their call for the council to change current planning regulations on listed buildings.  

A petition has launched for regulations to facilitate the installation of double-glazing windows, solar panels and heat pumps on grade II and conservation area homes – provided they meet conditions for protecting the property's heritage.

Ms Boulton, who has lived in Gibson Square for 30 years, said: “This is a campaign for everyone who lives in listed buildings or conservation areas, because the council owns a lot of council flats in these buildings.

“We want to make it easier for both public and private landlords to update their homes to the 21st century.

“When TV antennas came in, we allowed them. When satellite dishes came in, we allowed them.”

Two years ago she wished to sign up to Islington’s solar panel scheme and she would like to implement double glazing windows in her Grade II home – but she has been discouraged from doing it due to the current process.

With soaring energy bills, a climate emergency and Islington’s net-zero carbon emission goal by 2030, she said: “There are equally pressing reasons to make the planning system reflect the reality of the lives of people who live in these houses.”

Her campaign is hoped to help “completely powerless” individuals in listed council flats as well as other buildings within the conservation area who want to do the right thing in helping the environment and lowering bills.

Anne-Marie Huby, who has lived in various parts of Islington since 1992, said: “The council is reactive, everytime that a house needs to be renovated or a set of windows changed or a roof upgraded, a planning application needs to be made to the council.

“If most people who could afford it wanted to do their bit to meet the net zero ambition of the council, if all those people were to rapidly place applications to make Islington green, the system couldn’t cope. It would take years for a small number of officers to look at what would become very quickly like an NHS backlog.”

Islington Gazette: Islington Town Hall in Upper StreetIslington Town Hall in Upper Street (Image: Emma Bartholomew)

They are working with Islington architect Chris Procter, who unveiled a toolkit in an online meeting that allows local councils to allow more promptly allow certain planning proposals going ahead – from roughly eight weeks to two weeks - as long as they follow a certain guidance.

He said: “Planning officers are just checking the paperwork, it’s not actually having to make a decision because it’s already pre-made.”

The council says it is aware of Mr Procter’s work and will “carefully consider” the evidence as it prepares an updated supplementary planning document.

Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s executive member for environment, air quality, and transport, was unable to attend the online seminar.

However, the councillor said: “We know that the climate emergency is critically urgent, and we’re working tirelessly to make Islington a cleaner, greener, healthier place for everyone.   

“Islington is one of the six London boroughs most at risk from climate change, so it’s vitally important that local people and businesses play their part in creating a more environmentally-friendly borough, and that the council supports and enables them to do so.  

“That is why the council is currently developing a new supplementary planning document, which will help us deliver our net-zero carbon planning policies and will make it easier for local people and businesses to install carbon-reducing measures, such as solar panels, on their buildings. 

“In the meantime, we continue to work hard to support local people looking to install carbon-reducing measures at their properties.

“Local people are able to receive in-depth, accurate advice through our duty planning service, and we are in the process of developing a simple planning guide to installing carbon-reducing measures.”

Planning officers and Cllr Champion are set to meet with the campaigners after Christmas.

To sign the petition, visit: