21 Oct 2019
The government is not addressing the climate and nature emergency with the urgency required, and they’re not giving councils the powers and resources to reach their full potential on climate change and nature protection. Councils need to raise their voice, alongside others, both for more powers and resources, as well as more national action. They can do this through networks, such as the Local Government Association, but it’s also important to call for this directly and work with others locally.
Councils should make their voice heard by the national government and secure increased devolution to local level and increase democratic control.
What councils should do
Point 50 in our Climate Action Plan for councils suggest councils should:
50. Work with other councils and allies to secure more regulatory powers, fundraising powers and finance to deliver on our aspirations, and join forces with others to push for a national climate action plan that is commensurate with the climate and nature emergency.
- In September the Local Government Association identified that over 240 councils had now declared a climate emergency. They also said that more funding and powers were needed by local governments if national climate change targets are to be met. This statement needs to be turned into active campaigning at a local to national level so that politicians across all parties commit to provide the support needed.
As identified above, there are many areas where councils need more finance or powers to deliver to their full potential on climate change and nature protection. Friends of the Earth have identified some of these.
There are also many areas where the government itself needs to take action. These powers, finances and action will not be delivered without a sustained campaign and a unified voice from local government, civil society and local communities. Without campaigning it is the current and future citizens in council areas that will suffer. Campaigning isn’t an optional extra but intrinsic to the council role in addressing the climate and nature emergencies.
Policy changes needed to enable local authorities in England to deliver on climate change. https://policy.friendsoftheearth.uk/insight/policy-changes-needed-enable-local-authorities-england-deliver-climate-change
How climate friendly is your area? https://takeclimateaction.uk/climate-action/how-climate-friendly-your-area-enter-your-postcode-see-results-your-community