Government told to build recovery on local climate change action

Local leaders and mayors have called on the UK government to enable ambitious local action towards net zero as part of the economic recovery, post Covid-19.

On 23 September, UK100 published a declaration of action to the UK government, stressing the need for a recovery package that creates resilience in communities and reduces carbon emissions. Such an approach would allow for the reskilling of jobs, with UK100 forecasting 3.1mn will have to be as part of a green recovery, as well as job creation, healthier, safer places to work and live and the restoration of nature.

It made a series of recommendations for areas where government can take action to accelerate local change. This includes a national framework for local area energy planning as part of efforts to ensure a smart decentralised energy system, and a Net Zero Development Bank to increase local net zero investment. The bank should have an obligation, along with the capacity, to work with Local Energy Hubs and support local authorities in developing place-based net zero projects and programmes.

It also called for the government to accelerate the transition to low and zero emission travel, enabling the UK to become a global leader in developing zero emission vehicles; to ensure that the nation’s homes and buildings are retrofitted to be energy efficiency with a long-term plan to decarbonise buildings and heat; and for local powers to take action on net zero to be expanded through an enhanced devolution settlement. This would combine ambitious national strategy with a “fresh and fair” mix of powers and resources for local and combined authorities, enabling clear and accountable local net zero carbon delivery.