Councils across England have been left unable to enact ambitious climate pledges due to a lack of central government support, a report claims. More than three-quarters of English local authorities have made “climate emergency” declarations, and many have also pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2030, ahead of the national target of 2050. However, a cash shortfall caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, little support from central government and years of austerity has left councils unable to make the changes they want to, according to a new report from Green Alliance, an independent think tank and charity focused on the environment. Andrew Western, the Labour leader of Trafford Council in Greater Manchester, said: “There’s no doubt that we are facing a climate emergency that requires urgent, joined-up action across all areas of local and central government. “However, the combined effects of the pandemic and long-running budgetary pressures mean councils are struggling for capacity and funds to take many of the practical, achievable steps needed to decarbonise our economy.” “Government is missing a trick here because local authorities have influence over transport and housing, two sectors that are really important to decarbonise and that the central government so far hasn’t done a particularly good job on,” Philippa Borrowman, a policy adviser at Green Alliance, told The Independent.
Independent 4th Dec 2020 read more »
This week, the Essex Climate Action Commission called for solar panels to be installed on every appropriate available roof in Essex by 2050. The recommendation included all domestic, industrial and commercial properties in the county. Using solar energy to help Essex reach its goal of becoming net zero by 2050 was supported by 100% of all commissioners who voted at the meeting. The recommendation was just one of many which came from commissioners during their meeting to discuss how changes to the way we think about energy and waste can help the county reduce its carbon footprint. During the meeting, commissioners talked about how advances in technology and a fast-growing industry have meant that solar panels are now being created to replicate and blend in with regular roof tiles. Commissioners revealed their ambition for Essex to be able to produce enough renewable energy, such as wind and solar, to meet its own needs by 2040. Cllr Simon Walsh, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change Action said: “Essex residents can switch to 100% renewable electricity now by taking part in the Essex Energy Switch which launched this week. It’s so quick and easy to do and previous participants saved an average of £230 per household on their energy bills.” The Commission also recommended Essex accelerated the shift to low carbon heating measures such as heat pumps and solar thermal panels.
Essex Council 3rd Dec 2020 read more »