Local Government think-tank, the LGIU has launched a centre for local sustainability to develop practical and challenging projects to help councils deal with issues stretching from the global to the local. The new centre has unveiled the first of its projects – Carbon Trading Councils and Carbon Zero Councils – which it will be working on over the next year.
The organisation says councils are the guardians of their local physical environment and, through their planning powers, can have a major impact on patterns of development. That, combined with their role in leading communities, puts them at the centre of the emerging environmental agenda, which is dominated by the need to address climate change. Authorities, the LGIU says, can be local catalysts for action in waste, transport, local food sourcing, energy saving and generation and education.
The Centre for Local Sustainability will emphasise the need to involve local people in all its programmes. The Carbon Trading Council scheme, for example, has been designed to be open to community groups, companies and even households.
In launching the centre, the LGIU released the results of a survey showing that councillors and senior council officers are keen for their authorities to take part in carbon trading or carbon offsetting scheme. More than half of elected members believe they should consider getting involved in a carbon-trading scheme, although only two per cent of councils are actually taking action towards this. Almost two thirds of councillors want their councils to participate in carbon offsetting, although only five per cent of authorities are currently involved in such a scheme.
Carbon Trading Councils is a voluntary scheme to help local authorities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by observing annual carbon budgets and trading permits. The idea is for councils to sign up to a pilot scheme to begin in April next year. Carbon Zero Councils is the first of a series of flyers and charts a pathway to a zero-carbon future for authorities as corporate bodies and community leaders.