Could your local council help save the planet?

You might not think it, but your local council could help us save the planet. That’s right – the same people that sort out your bin collections and your parking – have the power to take incredible climate action, and help us limit global warming. 

 

Local authorities (LA’S) play an important role in reducing carbon emissions. They can help decrease the environmental impact in areas such as transport, buildings, waste and energy which, in total, account for 40% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. These actions are not just good for the planet, they are also great for your community. Reducing emissions can create jobs locally, and improve public health.

“The good news is that local councils want to listen to you, and your needs.”

Even better, most councils want to save the planet! Over 70% of councils in the UK have declared a climate emergency and a third have developed action plans to deliver targets to limit global warming by 1.5C by 2030 and 2050.

The potential impact of local councils should not be underestimated – according to UNDP, roughly 70% of climate change reduction measures and 90% of climate change adaptation measures are taken by local governments. LA’s provide a wealth of services in their communities: everything from buses to bin collections. Reducing the carbon emissions of these services can make a real impact for the community. Local councils also have the power to make change as community leaders and major employers in their area.

We are not saying that it will be easy for councils to reach all their targets, and cut emissions. They face some major challenges. Funding is limited, and austerity has further reduced councils’ ability to act on a major scale. Plus, we are clearly up against the clock when it comes to climate change. 

 

But the good news is that local councils want to listen to you, and your needs.  Compared with the central government, local councils are far closer to the communities that they represent. They want to engage with their community and find the climate actions that work best for them.

 

Do you want to make your voice heard and have your say on climate action in your area? Use our quick and easy template to contact your local council!

Sources:

33 actions local authorities can take on climate change, 2019. Friends of the Earth. Retrieved from https://policy.friendsoftheearth.uk/insight/33-actions-local-authorities-can-take-climate-change

 

Annabelle J. (2015). Five reasons why local governments should influence climate change plans.The Guardian.Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2015/jan/06/local-government-climate-change-plans.

 

Argyriou, I., Fleming, P., & Wright, A. (2012). Local climate policy: Lessons from a case study of transfer of expertise between UK local authorities. Sustainable Cities and Society, 5, 87-95.

 

Bell, S. 2020. How can the government help English councils act on climate breakdown? Friends of the Earth. Retrieved from https://policy.friendsoftheearth.uk/insight/how-can-government-help-english-councils-act-climate-breakdown

 

Climate Change Committee. (2020). The Sixth Carbon Budget: The UK’s Path to Net Zero.

 

Committee on Climate Change. (2012). How local authorities can reduce emissions and manage climate risk.

 

Comodi, G., Cioccolanti, L., Polonara, F., & Brandoni, C. (2012). Local authorities in the context of energy and climate policy. Energy policy, 51, 737-748.

 

Local authority climate emergency: what’s next?, 2019. Carbon Trust. Retrieved from https://www.carbontrust.com/news-and-events/news/local-authority-climate-emergency-whats-next

 

Walsh, M. (2021) Governments are overlooking a key piece in the climate puzzle: community energy. Climate Homes News. Retrieved from https://www.climatechangenews.com/2021/05/24/governments-overlooking-key-piece-climate-puzzle-community-energy/