What is the national government doing to encourage local government to tackle climate change?
The government has a range of policies, strategies and targets in place to encourage us all to reduce our environmental impact.
There is the UK Sustainable Development Strategy 2003 “Securing the Future” set out the leading principle and priorities for tackling climate change and promoting sustainable development in the UK. These are consumption and production, climate change, natural resource protection and sustainable communities.
The Climate Change Act is the first in the world to introduce a long term legally binding framework to tackle the dangerous effects of climate change. The Act made the UK’s targets to reduce carbon emissions through domestic and international action by at least 60% by 2050, against a 1990 baseline.
Other provisions in the act include the introduction of carbon budgets, the creation of a Climate Change Committee and an adaptation sub committee.
A growing number of local authorities have also signed the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change. This is a voluntary pledge which commits a local authority to reduce their carbon emissions and work with local partners to provide an effective adaptation strategy for their local area. The Declaration was first launch in October 2000 in Nottingham with senior officers and members from over 200 local authorities. The declaration was refreshed five years later with a greater emphasis on timescales for delivery, partnership working, and community involvement and adaptation strategies. Dudley Council signed the declaration and is currently working with local partners to reduce carbon emissions.
In addition, the government has also published a new set of national indicators which measure local authority performance. There are a number directly relevant to climate change and carbon reduction.
NI 185 – reductions in emissions from local authority operations
NI 186 – per capita reduction in emissions from across local authority area
NI 188 – planning to adapt to climate change
There are two other indicators which also contribute to carbon reduction. These are
NI 187 - fuel poverty
NI 198 – travel to school – mode of transport normally used.