Debate on tackling climate change, protecting the environment and securing global development, House of Commons, 10 July 2019

The ability of local government to take the lead on climate change is restricted by financial constraints on councils, a lack of devolved powers, challenges with monitoring and implementation and a lack of awareness of the agenda. A snapshot of this is the challenges faced by councils when tackling air quality and pollution. They do not have control over all roads, as some are operated by Highways England, limiting their ability to take action.


Key messages

  • Councils are the best placed to respond the to the public’s growing concerns about the environment and issues such as climate change. At a local level councils can bring together partners to deliver leadership and direction on the specific environmental issues in their localities.
  • It is essential that as a nation we tackle climate change and protect our natural environment as we need to continue to improve air quality, protect against flooding, and ensure our transport, waste and energy policies are environmentally sustainable.
  • The LGA passed a motion at its 2019 annual conference in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of local government in delivering them. This included a declaration of a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committed to supporting councils in their work to tackle climate change by providing a strong unified voice for local government, and sharing best practice across all councils.
  • The UK’s Voluntary National Review of the Goals has estimated that 65 per cent of the 169 targets set out by the SDGs need local involvement. Delivery of the SDGs is a key part of tackling climate change.
  • Several councils have published a specific SDG agenda and many more are incorporating sustainability issues into the wide range of services they provide. Over 100 councils have declared a ‘climate emergency’ and many have ambitions achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
  • The ability of local government to take the lead on climate change is restricted by financial constraints on councils, a lack of devolved powers, challenges with monitoring and implementation and a lack of awareness of the agenda. A snapshot of this is the challenges faced by councils when tackling air quality and pollution. They do not have control over all roads, as some are operated by Highways England, limiting their ability to take action.
  • The Government should use the Spending Review, and other key opportunities such as the Queen’s Speech, to place councils on a more sustainable footing. Our Councils Can proposal sets out how a new localism settlement could strengthen communities and allow them to deliver on climate change, with locally-led public service reform.

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Debate on tackling climate change, protecting the environment and securing global development, House of Commons, 10 July 2019

 


#CouncilsCan

#CouncilsCan: Spending Review 2019
 

With the right funding and powers, councils can continue to lead local areas, improve residents’ lives, reduce demand for public services and save money for the taxpayer. Securing the financial sustainability of local services must be the top priority for the Spending Review.

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