Local Industrial Strategy key to net zero goals

A study has argued that the government must better support ambitious local industrial strategies to help local areas play their part in moving the UK to a zero-carbon economy.

Two think tanks, Green Alliance and Localis, has warned that the slow rollout of local industrial strategy is putting local areas with the greatest need of economic revival at risk of missing out on clean growth development opportunities and imperilling the national net zero target.

More than 230 English local authorities have declared climate emergencies in the past year. However, most have only just begun to consider the changes that will be needed to local energy and transport systems, and to transform the buildings and industries in their areas.

The new report, The route to clean growth – using local industrial strategies to drive change, calls for the government to reaffirm its commitment to local industrial strategies with clean, climate-resilient growth at their core. This could take the form of local and combined authorities having more powers to mandate greener building projects, contrary to the government’s renewed threat to ban them from doing so.

The think-tanks also propose that a proportion of the forthcoming Shared Prosperity Fund is ringfenced for projects that enable clean growth by, for instance, supporting the grid infrastructure needed to expand renewable energy or improving public transport.

Roz Bulleid, Green Alliance’s head of policy, said: “The impact of the climate challenges facing us are acutely felt at the local level. Some areas could lose jobs in high carbon industries while others are benefiting from new opportunities such as offshore wind. Local policy makers should be building clean growth into the heart of their economic strategies to attract the industries of the future and ensure local resilience in a world increasingly affected by climate change.”