Councils across the country are making savings on their energy bills, generating income from renewable energy, attracting new jobs and investment in ‘green' industries, reducing flood risks, tackling fuel poverty and protecting wildlife.
There are significant opportunities for councils to both make sure that their local communities and businesses benefit from the low carbon economy, and that their local places are resilient to our future climate and extreme weather events.
Explore the sections below for further opportunities.
Energy prices have risen steadily over the last decade and are set to continue to rise. However, there are opportunities for councils to reduce their own energy bills, and those of their local residents and businesses, as well as to generate new sources of renewable power locally.
Action on climate change can have real financial benefits. Simple energy efficiency measures can reduce fuel bills while increasing local resilience to extreme weather can help avoid costs associated with repair and clear-up after flooding, or school and road closures. Councils can also make money by generating and selling renewable energy to the grid or to local businesses.
Councils are taking on responsibility for the public health agenda. There are many links between carbon reduction, climate resilience and health. Energy is needed in everyone's homes to keep us warm and healthy; walking and cycling rather than using the car for short journeys means more active communities; extreme heat and extreme cold presents health risks for our residents.
Nationally and locally, there is a strong case for moving towards a low carbon economy, driven by rising energy prices, a commitment to cut carbon emissions and a realisation of the huge economic opportunities available. There are opportunities for councils to ensure their local areas benefit from this source of economic growth.
The natural environment is a great asset to the UK, important for recreation, well-being, supporting nature and our local food supply. Our local natural environment is affected by our decisions on how to harness energy, and by changes in our climate. It can also play an important role in managing climate changes including hotter temperatures and increased rainfall.
Planning is an important responsibility for local authorities, and gives us the power to shape our local places to make them attractive, healthy, appealing and resilient to the changes likely to face us, our communities and our businesses in future years.
Transport is an essential part of modern life and has helped generate massive economic growth and a good quality of life. However, the burning of fossil fuels for transportation makes it vulnerable to changes in the price of oil, and engine fumes contain many harmful gases that affect our air quality, health, and environment. However, there are opportunities for councils to support cleaner vehicles and to create places with efficient transport links.
Councils offer residents an efficient waste removal, disposal and recycling service but the items householders throw out have often required the significant generation and expenditure of energy to create them. They have continuing value, through recycling, reuse and the generation of energy, and there are opportunities for councils who view the material as a resource.