Tom Keighley

Member Article

Councils need to reduce emissions

Local authorities must reduce their emissions and help the UK meet its carbon budgets targets, say the Committee on Climate Change.

In the report, commissioned by Department of Energy and Climate Change, the CCC, suggests local authorities have significant influence over key emitting sectors, including residential and commercial buildings, surface transport and waste.

Presently, there is no requirement for councils to set targets and implement measures to reduce emissions within their area, and the report points towards low ambition given limited funding and lack of obligation.

The Committee recommends the introduction of statutory duty for local authorities to develop and implement carbon plans, and that national funding to support such programmes is increased.

Emissions reductions could be achieved using defined programmes, promoting sustainable travel options, giving planning approval to renewable energy projects, and developing recycling programmes.

The report also says local authorities can lead by example and reduce emissions in their own estates and operations, and integrate climate change risk into their key functions and services to increase the resilience of their localities.

Committee member Professor Julia King said: “The research we’ve done shows local authorities have the potential to significantly impact on the UK’s scale and speed of emissions reductions.

“There is a wealth of good work being done already at local and regional levels but many opportunities remain untapped. It is essential that these opportunities are delivered if we are to meet our national carbon targets.

“We are therefore asking both local and national government to address these issues. Local authorities need to show leadership and recognise their wider role in supporting local emissions reductions.

“The government needs to strengthen incentives for action by providing national funding where required and should consider introducing a statutory duty for area-wide, low carbon, plans.”

The CCC identified how, and where local authorities can cut carbon emissions, including three sectors which account for 40% of total UK emissions: buildings, sustainable transport and waste.

Opportunities to reduce emissions through the power sector were also identified in local planning, acting as ‘champions’ for renewable energy generations, and developing decentralised energy plans to include district heating schemes and small-scale, low-carbon power plants.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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