We need a response from Government and we need it now. I am incredulous as a Local Councillor that Local Councils around the country have had no significant contact from UK Government asking for our help and assistance in achieving the Paris Climate goals. There are things we can do without direction from Government but a lot more could be achieved if there was a genuine partnership to encourage positive action on climate change quickly. Here are some key asks that Government could do tomorrow but preferably today.
- establish a National Climate Taskforce including Ministry of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Ministry of Communities, Housing & Local Government and the Local Government Association to drive action on climate change at the local level, addressing barriers to action and making good practice examples the mainstream
- require Councils to produce Climate Action Plans on how they can cut emissions quickly and what actions they could take with greater support from central Government.
- get Councils to lead local Climate Action Partnerships to drive deeper action on carbon emission reductions. This would draw in support from business, the wider public sector, the voluntary sector and the wider community
- give a clear steer to local Councils that they are expected to insist on higher energy efficiency standards in new buildings up to (and preferably) the Passivhaus Standard.
- Ask Councils to produce a plan (with a timetable) for a complete electrification of their vehicle fleets and to work with other large fleet operators on similar plans.
- Revive the Home Energy Conservation Act powers of Local Government and ask for new plans to be established within a year for costed plans to improve the energy efficiency of homes in line with the emissions savings we need to achieve the Paris Climate goals within a ten year timeframe.
These are all initiatives that the UK Government and BEIS in particular could start work on or set in motion today. We clearly need more action than this to acheive the Paris Climate goals but this would be a significant start and I'm requesting a meeting with the BEIS Minister of State Claire Perry and the Local Government Association to see what progress we can make together to address the Climate Emergency we are facing.