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Council Groups call on Claire Coutinho: Join us to back Local Climate Action

The Local Government Association (LGA), District Councils Network (DCN), County Councils Network (CCN) and London Councils have jointly written to the Secretary of State for Energy and Net Zero, Claire Coutinho, asking for clarity on how councils fit into the national plan for net zero.

The letter concludes with an invitation to the minister to attend  a drop-in event at Portcullis House, where some of the climate action projects undertaken by councils are being showcased. 

Cllr Darren Rodwell, environment spokesperson for the LGA said: ‘Councils are leading transformative projects across the country, but their innovation is being held back by the national approach to the transition to net zero.

‘With an impact on over 80 per cent of emissions from their area – from transport and housing to renewable energy, government will not reach net zero without empowering councils to deliver local climate action in every village, town and city. With the right support, local areas could deliver net zero quicker and for less money, while boosting the local economy and ensuring local people benefit.’

The letter points out that because of responsibilities towards housing, transport and energy, councils have ‘some’ impact on over 80% of emissions and ‘direct’ impact on more than a third of them.

As such, they say: ‘While national action is essential in setting the framework and taking the big decisions, the complexity of transition in our 51 cities, 935 towns and 6,000 villages cannot be managed from a Whitehall desk.

‘Councils receive no core funding for climate action and are forced to compete for short-term pots of funding that come and go over time, taking up resources and creating uncertainty.’

They ask the government to  

  • Put in place a national climate action framework with policy, regulatory, and investment certainty up to 2050, with set milestones and a clear role for councils leading local climate action.
  • Provide all councils with adequate and stable core funding to take forward climate action across their own services; multi-year place-based funding allocations to lead decarbonisation across their areas and support to secure greater private investment into local climate action.
  • Introduce a local climate action test ensuring all government policy and funding decisions – from housing to skills – contribute to local climate action.

Cllr Kieron Williams, Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, said: ‘As the largest city in the UK, London has an enormous role to play in reducing national carbon emissions. Councils across our city are providing the local leadership needed to make this happen, through working hand in hand with our communities and businesses to cut carbon emissions in ways that also create good jobs, bring down fuel bills and enable Londoners to live healthier lives.

‘London boroughs’ expertise and local relationships are already proving invaluable. Real partnership between local and national government is vital if we are to continue this progress. With a clear framework, shared goals and stable funding, councils could do even more.’

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