Laura Sharman 04 May 2021

Councils' efforts to tackle climate change hindered by 'broken' system, warns report

Councils efforts to tackle climate change hindered by broken system, warns report image

Local authorities are leading to way in tackling climate change but are being held back by a ‘broken’ national system, a new report has found.

The Powershift Report, published by UK100, found councils have been a ‘shining light’ in reducing emissions in areas such as housing and transport.

However, it warned that local authorities need more powers and resources, and more clarity over their role to take the next step.

It also said national policy mechanisms were ‘actively working against’ against local authorities trying to cut emissions.

The report states: 'National policy mechanisms can actively work against local authorities making effective use of their potential to cut emissions, including overriding national policy priorities that lock-in carbon emissions, funding models that hinder low carbon choices, power gaps in place-based systems and entrenched or siloed decision-making that pitches low carbon options against other priorities.'

The report urges Government to change national rules and regulations to enable local councils to do more on climate and create a framework for delivery of climate targets with local flexibility amongst other recommendations.

UK100 director, Polly Billington, said: 'We urge the Government to recognise that we need to change the existing rules that slow down climate action at the local level. They need to be reformed with the necessary urgency, giving local authorities the powers and resources to put the country on the path to meeting its climate targets by 2050. Our members stand ready and waiting to engage.'

A poll for UK 100 found the public trust local authorities the most on green issues, with 40% agreeing they are best placed to take action.

More than 50 local councils across the UK have pledged to reduce council emissions to Net Zero by 2030 and across their communities by 2045.

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