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Bill Clinton hails Elephant & Castle regeneration in Old Vic Tunnels

Former US president Bill Clinton has praised the environmental credentials of the Elephant & Castle regeneration in a speech at the Old Vic Tunnels in Waterloo.

The former president hosted a fundraising event for the Clinton Foundation in the Old Vic Tunnels at Waterloo on Tuesday night.

Tickets for the event cost 125 whilst guests who wanted their photo taken with Mr Clinton paid 1000.

The event, held jointly with the Reuben Foundation, was co-hosted by Chelsea Clinton and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The former US president has been associated with the Elephant & Castle since 2009 when he selected the regeneration programme to be part of the Climate Positive Development Program of the Clinton Climate Initiative.

In his speech at Waterloo on Tuesday Mr Clinton cited several examples of how the world is being affected by climate change.

"All of these challenges are enormous opportunities but they cannot just be done by people like me, sitting in positions of power, thinking they know what to do," he said.

"A lot of them have to be done at the grassroots level."

"There is nothing that we could do to put the world back to work than to change the way we produce and consume energy and global resources.

"Here in Southwark we have a project that we are working on with the city of London that will be a zero-emission or carbon-positive development – one of two in London.

If it happens, people will come from all over the UK to see how it happened and whether they could do it.

"They won't be paying utility bills – they will be making money which will put more people to work."

Since the Clinton Foundation first endorsed the Elephant & Castle regeneration in 2009 much has changed.

Plans for a multi-utility service company (MUSCo) have been abandoned with Lend Lease instead planning a new energy centre with CHP plant on the site of the existing Heygate boiler house.

In its outline planning application developer Lend Lease has set out its intention to use off-site biomethane generation to supply some of the gas requirements of the new homes.

At the moment biomethane, which is produced from sewage, can only be generated at two plants in the UK.

If plans for a biomethane plant in London go ahead, sewage from the new homes on the Heygate site could be used as an energy source.

The developer's latest assessment is that the development of up to 2,462 new homes will emit 32 per cent less carbon than the existing 1,107 homes on the Heygate Estate.

Mr Clinton's claims about utility bills may be a little far-fetched but Southwark Council leader Peter John welcomed the former president's remarks, describing the speech as "amazing recognition" for the borough's work.

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