Energy and carbon advisory services
“In Verco we’ve never been in any doubt on the scale and importance of the contribution that local government has to make to UK emission reduction objectives"
Verco’s director responsible for carbon management, Chris Crookall-Fallon, commented after attending Thursday's launch of the Committee on Climate Change’s new report “How local authorities can reduce emissions and manage climate risk”:
“In Verco we’ve never been in any doubt on the scale and importance of the contribution that local government has to make to UK emission reduction objectives. Our own work for DECC in 2010 and 2011 quantified for the first time the scale of emissions and cost of energy across the whole of the public sector (click here for more information). The CCC report rightly takes a wider perspective than merely estate and transport based emissions, and looks at the leverage that Local Authorities have on region-wide carbon reduction.
Many observers, including many Local Authorities committed to tackling climate change, recognised the negative impact of the coalition government scrapping the National Indicator Set for Local Authorities, removing one of the obvious drivers to carbon reduction from Authorities’ own estates. I think the CCC’s report is therefore timely in bringing focus back onto the positive and vital role that Local Government can play. However, it’s also clear that Local Authorities are stuck between a rock and a hard place on this agenda – whilst there’s a generally high degree of commitment in principle to the emissions reduction agenda, the squeeze on local government spending makes it hard for Authorities to prioritise and resource carbon reduction actions, despite the often strong business case.
The key question now is how Government responds to the Committee’s recommendations. In yesterday’s launch the Committee’s chief executive, David Kennedy, made it clear that he would like to see a statutory duty on Local Government to set and implement carbon reduction plans (coupled to additional government funding). But that leaves an open question over the level of ambition and the consistency and quality of the plans, as well as the ability and resources to implement. The committee’s report makes the plea for a high level of ambition (e.g. 20% reduction across buildings, surface transport and waste by 2020 relative to 2010 levels), but without any direct requirement from DCLG, Local Authorities are going to struggle to prioritise this. Eric Pickles’ instinct to remove red tape and promote localism suggests that central direction probably won’t materialise.
We obviously want to see Verco’s decade or more of front-line experience supporting public sector bodies to set, quantify and deliver ambitious, high quality carbon reduction plans put to good use in response to the Committee’s recommendations.”
If you would like to contact Chris Crookall-Fallon please click here
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