Local authorities to support carbon reductions via energy efficiency programmes, sustainable travel options and renewables

Local authorities should do more to help the UK meet its carbon budgets by championing renewable energy schemes, giving them planning consent and supporting the development of district heating projects.

That call came in a report commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change from the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

The CCC also recommended that local authorities should have a statutory duty to develop and implement carbon plans, an initiative which would need central Government funding.

The Committee warned that limited action at the local level would put the achievement of national carbon budgets at risk.

Given stronger incentives, the report identifies how local authorities could support emissions reductions by using energy efficiency programmes, promoting sustainable travel options, giving planning approval to renewable energy projects and developing recycling programmes.

Committee member Professor Julia King said: “The research we’ve done shows local authorities have the potential to significantly impact on the UK’s scale and speed of emissions reductions. There is a wealth of good work being done already at local and regional levels but many opportunities remain untapped.

“Local authorities need to show leadership and recognise their wider role in supporting local emissions reductions. The Government needs to strengthen incentives for action by providing national funding where required and should consider introducing a statutory duty for area-wide, low carbon, plans.“

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