Think Global. Act Local!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Friend of Earth

Do you have 15 minutes free today to send an email and be a friend of the Earth?

A government consultation called ‘Strengthening Local Democracy’ is (among other objectives) determining councils’ role on meeting climate change targets. I'm writting a quick email to argue that councils should cut carbon emissions in their area by at least 40 per cent by 2020. It is important that the government set a minimum standard of action on climate for all councils to meet our national targets.

Today, now, I'm sending a short and concise email to

It includes a personalised version of some of the following points suggested by FoE.

(1) This consultation and the Government’s commitment to local authorities have a stronger role in tackling climate change is welcome.
(2) The UK is committed to achieving CO2 emissions reductions of 34 per cent by 2020. To meet this target, and to avoid dangerous climate change, will require radical action by all sections of society and Government, including all local authorities.
(3) Under the current voluntary system, a minority of local authorities are taking real, systematic action on climate change, and most are doing very little.
(4) All councils adopting short-term emissions targets or local carbon budgets would have the effect of ensuring that all local authorities take their share of the national responsibility. Either could be a good way forward.
(5) Whichever mechanism is adopted, it should ensure that that all local authorities are required to meet a minimum standard of action. Doing nothing should no longer be an option for councils.
(6) The Government’s proposal to provide more support for councils to act on climate change, including new funding and new powers, is very welcome.

The following is needed:
- More information for councils on how to cut carbon. Friends of the Earth supports a new regional technical advice body on Climate Change to help provide the evidence base for action on climate change.
- New innovative financing enabling councils to fund positive climate solutions on renewable energy.
- A strong role for local authorities in co-coordinating funding streams - for example when deciding where to target and spend money from programs for home insulation and energy efficiency.
- That councils must be ‘challenged’ by the government to reduce carbon from transport. To achieve this we think the Department for Transport must check councils’ local transport plans for carbon – and refuse to accept plans that increase CO2.
- More community engagement in developing local climate solutions. If you can, stress the benefits you think that this would bring to people in your area. Eg. a planning system that that encourages green and efficient heating – like district heating networks for communities, or solar panels on homes, could slash people’s fuel bills, create jobs and boost the local economy.

Emails must reach the Department of Communities and Local Government today as the consultation closes 2nd of October.


  1. Here is the email that I sent to the consultation process:

    A National lead, with local implementation.

    The Strengthening Local Democracy consultation is an important opportunity to ensure that councils play a very strong role in tackling climate change and helping to achieve our national commitment to a 34% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020. We are strongly in favour of upgrading the current voluntary system to compulsory local targets that ensure that all regions play their part in achieving our national targets. All local authorities should have an ambitious and compulsory minimum standard of action. Doing nothing on the issue of climate change should no longer be an option for councils, and we fully support the proposal that support for councils to act on climate change, including new funding and new powers, should be provided by government.

    Please ensure that all councils are provided with the information they need on how to cut emissions. The Energy Saving Trust currently does a very good job of offering advise of cutting emissions, but in addition a new regional technical advice body on Climate Change should help provide the evidence base for action on climate change. Councils should be able to fund renewable energy solutions through new financing arrangements and have a strong role in co-coordinating funding streams.

    Councils must also act to reduce carbon from transport. The Department for Transport must check the local transport plans of each council and refuse to accept any plans that would lead to an increase CO2 emissions.

    We also believe that councils should be encouraged to engage the local community in this process of tackling climate change. By moving together on these issues, boundaries will be broken and new schemes such as district heating networks, solar panels on homes, and individual efforts to meet national targets will lead to decreases in local people’s fuel bills, new jobs making modifications to properties and, importantly, a boost the local economy during the current recession.

  2. All communications received during a consultation process have to be considered. Here is the immediate response from the Department of Communities and Local Government

    "Thank you for your response to the Strengthening Local Democracy consultation. Your feedback is valued and will be considered in developing Government's response to the consultation. (Please note, however, that responses received after the consultation close of 2 October 2009 may not formally be considerd.)

    Please take this message as a formal acknowledgement that your response has been received. Information provided in response to this consultation may be published or disclosed in accordance with the access to information regimes (these are set out in chapter 6 of the consultation paper).

    Please check back to for the latest on work to strengthen local democracy. And once again, thank you for taking the time to respond to this consultation."


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