Monday 16 August 2021

‘Government must better equip councils to fight climate change’

‘Government must better equip councils to fight climate change’

Although 90% of councils have declared a climate emergency, a third of these support policies that increase emissions.

That is according to a survey held by the BBC, involving 136 councils in England.

The BBC used Leeds as an example of inconsistent policy; although the city aims to become carbon-neutral by 2030, Leeds City Council has backed plans to upgrade Leeds Bradford Airport.

The survey puts this down to a dilemma for councils to impose cuts to emissions, whilst continuing to improve the image and employment of cities.

The survey has led to Friends of the Earth calling on the government to better equip councils to fight climate change.

The charity has provided measures it claims need to be put in place to help local authorities positively attack the climate crisis.

These include a legal requirement for local authorities to take climate targets into account when considering planning applications, funding to match local authorities’ net zero strategies to complete tasks such as retrofitting houses and the scrapping of the governmental £27 billion roads programme.

It has stated these funds should be redistributed to improve infrastructure for public transport, as well as making travel on foot or bicycle safer and more reliable.

Sandra Bell, Friends of the Earth, said: “There should be a legal requirement that local authorities have to take UK climate targets into account when considering planning applications.

“We will not come close to confronting the climate crisis if coal mines and airport expansions are approved and more car-dependent housing is built that fails to meet high energy efficiency standards.

“Ministers should put councils at the heart of their climate strategy, so they can fulfil their potential to create the green jobs and healthy, resilient communities needed for the challenges of the 21st century.”

A Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government spokesperson said: “The government recognises that councils can help drive progress towards our national climate change commitments, and we will set out details of how we will work with them to reach net zero in our Net Zero Strategy.

“We have already provided billions in funding for councils to deliver local action on climate change, including through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme and the Green Recovery Challenge Fund.”

future Net Zero has contacted BEIS for a response.

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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