Action needed to support councils’ work on climate change

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) has called on the government to take urgent action to support local authorities’ work on climate change.

Launching its Climate Change policy position, the association has highlighted how it wants the government to enshrine the net zero principle in the Environment Bill, with the Office of Environmental Protection (OEP) given the powers to fulfil its remit, which should also include climate change.

ADEPT is pushing for net zero targets applied to all sectors of the economy and for all new homes and commercial buildings to be carbon net zero by 2025. It also wants the government not to rely on international climate credits to meet its target.

Darryl Eyers, president of ADEPT, said: “The challenges of climate change are undeniable and will have significant impact on how we travel, work and live, even on our health. To meet them we need to take immediate radical action. To create change, we must have partnerships. As place-shapers, ADEPT members have significant powers to take action and influence culture change across our organisations, partners and suppliers. We make decisions on buildings, transport and waste, which together account for 40 per cent of all emissions, making us uniquely placed to put the climate crisis at the heart of our work.

“But, government action, leadership and provision of resources is vital. To make the transition to a zero carbon economy, we need to have coherent national policies, robust regulations and strong regulatory powers.”

Paula Hewitt, chair of ADEPT’s Environment Board, said: “As a country, we cannot afford to outsource the problem if we want to demonstrate environmental leadership on a global scale. We have to drive investment in decarbonisation and support clean growth.

“The UK’s low carbon and renewable energy economy (LCRE) increased by 6.8 per cent from 2016 – 2017. Government must support this fast-growing economy through prioritising climate change across all departments and enabling decision making across planning and infrastructure that will develop climate resilient places and communities.

“Government support while critical, is just part of the picture. Alongside local authorities, public agencies across all sectors need to show leadership, as must Local Enterprise Partnerships and the business sector through their local industrial strategies.”