Technological and lifestyle efforts have an important role to play in addressing climate change and meeting the net zero target, but responsibility cannot rest with individuals alone. Compelling, appropriate and affordable sustainable alternatives must be available to the general public to enable them to make sustainable choices.
- It is essential that, as a nation, we tackle climate change and protect our natural environment. We need to continue to improve air quality, protect against flooding, and ensure our transport, planning, waste and energy policies are environmentally sustainable.
- Technological and lifestyle efforts have an important role to play in addressing climate change and meeting the net zero target. But responsibility cannot rest with individuals alone. Compelling, appropriate and affordable sustainable alternatives must be available to them.
- Councils are best placed to respond to the public’s growing concerns about climate change. At a local level they can bring together partners to deliver leadership and direction. It is important to recognise that as there is not a single solution, localised responses are needed to address individual local circumstances.
- As part of our sector-led improvement work, the LGA offers a wide range of support to help councils address the issues of climate change and environmental sustainability. These include a Behavioural Insights programme, a Leadership Essentials Programme, programmes to help councils innovate and address both efficiency and climate change, and an Acting on Climate Change councillor workbook.
- Councils are already undertaking several projects to encourage behavioural shifts. For instance in transport they are supporting cycling, providing electric vehicle charging points and offering lower emissions public transport. Many councils are looking at how to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste sent to landfill.
- Transport contributes 30 per cent of the UK CO2 emissions. We need to design places that encourage active travel and see a large-scale electrification of the vehicle fleet. This is a big challenge for councils to embrace, but we can only do so with long-term guaranteed infrastructure funding.
- Housing is another key area where we can make a significant contribution to net zero. The Government’s preferred option for the proposed new Future Homes Standards does not go far enough to achieving this ambition, and may result in costly retrofitting to new dwellings in the future.
- We must also recognise that manufacturers and retailers have a key role to play, in accepting extended producer responsibility (EPR), minimising their impact and offering consumers viable alternatives.