Abstracts: October 3rd, 2007

This report from the Green Alliance examines what will be needed to bring about a major increase in the extent and quality of local authority action on climate change. It focuses on the role of the new performance framework and local area agreements.The new framework represents a important step by the government to encourage local authority action. If local government is to achieve its full potential in tackling climate change, its role as place-shaper and community leader will be crucial. The report takes the view that the new framework must reflect local government’s role as place-shapers and community leaders in climate change adaptation and mitigation. A narrow focus on action in managing their own estate would represent a significant missed opportunity. An average council produces at least 30,000 tonnes of carbon per annum, but its local community can generate ten million tonnes.

The report also argues that central government must clearly define local government’s contribution to tackling climate change, in terms of areas to address and level of ambition, and clarify how this fits into the national strategy. To ensure that local authorities are motivated and able to act, this must be complemented by greater financial incentives and support.

Some local authorities have already taken emissions cuts into their own hands, but there is a huge gulf between best practice and the rest. To achieve a step change in local authority action central government must make clear that climate change is a top priority for local government.

The report is available at: www.green-alliance.org.uk