Headlines: May 1st, 2007

COUNCILS WARNED TO PREPARE FOR ENERGY MONITORING ROLE

 

Local authorities have been told to start finding ways to monitor their carbon emissions before new legislation comes into force. The think-tank, the Local Government Information Unit, has said it expects the Energy White Paper to set new objectives for energy efficiency.

The White Paper, which is expected to be published in the coming month, is also expected to detail targets fore the use of renewable sources of energy and to include a package of measures to cut carbon dioxide emissions from consumers, businesses and organisations such as councils. The LGIU is also anticipating the inclusion of an “energy performance commitment” that will create an emissions trading scheme for businesses and organisations that are not energy intensive, including larger local authorities such as county councils.

The Unit’s head of centre for local sustainability David Janner-Klausner said the paper would throw more weight behind the practical role that local authorities had to play in reducing carbon emissions. “With the energy performance commitment and the growing emphasis on decentralised and renewable energy, councils have the opportunity to shape their local response to climate change,” he said.

The LGIU believes the targets set in the White Paper are likely to prepare the way for carbon monitoring programmes, which it expects to be recommended in the Climate Change Bill that is due later in the summer. Under such a scheme councils would have to identify the operations emitting the largest amounts of carbon dioxide in their areas, particularly in transport and housing. Mr. Janner-Klausner said, “In the rush to price carbon, remove barriers and increase incentives we need to keep our eye on the game. Putting a price on carbon should not inadvertently deflect investment from creating engaged and sustainable communities.”