Tag Archives: Local Authorities

Background to the Climate Change Committee Study of LA emission savings

November 2011:  A previous entry noted the announcement by DECC that the Climate Change Committee (CCC) were to help provide DECC with guidance on how local authorities could curb greenhouse gas emissions. No key information has been published as yet by the CCC on the study, however, what follows below is some background correspondence between DECC and the CCC on the basis of the study:
Letter from Minister for Energy Greg Barker to Lord Adair Turner, Chairman of the CCC (13 June 2011) which states that DECC are “thinking of is benchmark advice on the scale of ambition that LAs may set themselves, possible approaches to deliver that ambition and how this would contribute to national carbon budgets.”
CCC responded (24 June) saying that they “agree [d] that there is a potentially important role for LAs, particularly as regards energy efficiency improvement in buildings and promotion of sustainable transport, and also as regards renewable electricity and heat generation.”
DECC Ministerial response (21 July)
– Following a meeting in mid – September CCC came back to DECC (28 September) setting out the four elements of the study and requested support from DECC and the LGA
– A Final letter from Greg Barker back to CCC (25 October) which amends the elements proposed by CCC stating that DECC are looking for “consideration of the local factors and circumstances that local authorities might wish to take into account when deciding on the approaches to adopt”. DECC further state that they need the work to be completed by the end of April 2012 “to ensure it can be fed into the permissive guidance for local authorites that CLG (the Department for Communities) is producing.” The guidance referred to is in relation to the revised Home and Energy Conservation Act (HECA) – originally to be repealed in the Energy Act 2011, until a volte face from Government.

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‘How can local government become more climate conscious?’

November 2011: Online discussion hosted by The Guardian considering opportunities for councils to develop their environmental projects.
A summary of some of the key themes is provided here.

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Financing model for energy efficiency retrofits

November 2011:    The Local Energy Efficiency Project (LEEP) team, which involves the Energy Saving Trust,  have been working with local authorities in the UK on a financing and delivery model for rolling out energy efficiency retrofits designed to work with private sector partners. The aim of LEEP is to create a sustainable and replicable solution that attracts commercial capital at scale for a national domestic eco-refurbishment program delivered through local authorities. A final report has just been produced which summaries the groups findings (scoll to the bottom of the  page to find reference to the report).

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Committee on Climate Change to advise Local Authorities

3 November 2011: At Friends of the Earth Councils, Communities and Climate Change conference, Minster of Energy Greg Barker announced that DECC have tasked the Committee on Climate Change to advise local authorities on identifying and quantifying the scope for local authorities to reduce emissions. The report is to be finalised by April and is to provide:

  • a high level assessment of opportunities in areas such as municipal food waste, transport and buildings
  • consider which ‘levers’ local authorities could pull to help
  • high level recommendations to encourage local authority actions.

No further details are posted as yet on the Committee’s website, but, speaking at yesterday’s conference, David Kennedy, Chief Executive of the CCC, said they would be consulting directly with local authorities to help prepare the report.

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Major new study – Is localism delivering for climate change?

21 October 2011: Excellent new study from environmental think-tank Green Alliance based on a survey of local authorities, looking at work currently underway on climate change.

The report states “The survey revealed a three-way split between local authorities:.

  • 37 per cent are deprioritising climate change or state that it was never a priority. Starkly worded submissions such as, “the sustainability function within my local authority has been deleted and the climate change function has been discontinued” illustrate the scale of the loss in certain places.
  • 35 per cent remain firm in their commitment to climate change and believe that action could even increase in the context of localism.
  • 28 per cent are narrowing their ambitions to focus on reducing emissions from their estate and ceasing work on wider environmental issues.

Overall, the results suggest that climate changework has narrowed, is very weak or absent in 65 per cent of local authorities.”

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A New Declaration for Councils on Climate Change

October 2011: The Local Government (LG) Group has recently consulted with councils on establishing a revised version of the ‘Nottingham Declaration on  Climate Change’. The original declaration was set out in 2000, with local authority signatories pledging action to reduce carbon emissions.  As part of the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Local Government Group and DECC,  it has been agreed that a new Nottingham Declaration Board, New Declaration document and accompanying Action Plan will be established to enable councils to reduce carbon emissions at the local level. There were over 300 signatories to the original declaration across the country including most London councils.

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Guide to Funding Low Carbon Projects for Local Authorities

18 October 2o11: New Energy Saving Trust (EST) guide outlining different sources of funding to support the development of low carbon activities, specifically energy efficiency and renewable energy retrofit measures for council-owned buildings and for the wider housing stock of all tenures, and for district energy/combined heat and power schemes.

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Councils reduce levels of street lighting…

17 October 2011: Daily Telegraph article suggesting that “almost three quarters of councils have already reduced street lighting in their area, or are considering doing so.” Read the full article here.
Further information on street lighting initiatives underway in London can be viewed here.

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Councils to kickstart Green Deal revolution

17 October 2011: New local authority-backed financing model aims to scale up Green Deal programme. Read the full Business Green article here.

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Survey finds that 99% of councils say using sustainable energy would help reduce their energy costs

October 2011: The authors of some  valuable new research have outlined in the following article the huge potential for councils to link efforts to combat climate change with the need to kick-start economic growth and create decent employment. The new green team: Local government, sustainable energy, jobs and skills was launched last week, produced by the Association for Public Service Excellence (Apse) for Unison.

The report presents a survey of officers and elected members in councils across the UK and found that a hugely positive attitude towards sustainable energy projects exists in local government.

An overwhelming 99% of respondents said this would reduce their energy costs and 94% think there is an urgent need for such projects. And 82% believe the public in their area would be supportive of a high profile emphasis on sustainability and jobs growth through renewable energy and energy efficiency schemes.

There are a number of all too real obstacles to achieving the full potential of sustainable energy at present however. For a start, the majority of respondents do not believe sufficient skills exist to respond to sustainable energy opportunities – and only 12% think the national skills development programme is moving rapidly enough to equip people to meet green economy opportunities.

Local government leadership is also crucial. A total of 79% of survey respondents believe councils should have a direct delivery as well as a facilitation role in sustainable energy projects.

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Briefing on Sustainable Energy & Planning

August 2011: The Local Government Group’s Planning Advisory Service (PAS) has updated its councillor briefing on sustainable energy. This briefing covers:

  • What is sustainable energy?
  • Jargon busting
  • What does planning deal with and what can be expected from applicants

It provides a useful introduction of many of the key issues raised in relation to the challenges of delivering safe, secure and reliable energy systems at a time of considerable change in the UK energy market.

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Supporting Renewable Energy through Business Rates

August 2011: The issue of how the Government’s proposals for business rate retention by local authorities could help fund sustainable energy initiatives has been highlighted previously on this website, and on 18 July, CLG’s consultation paper, Local Government Resource Review: Proposals for Business Rates Retention sets out the detailed proposals for a new rates retention scheme to replace the current local government finance system. Supporting this consultation paper, the Government has now published eight technical papers exploring in further detail how councils would be allowed to keep locally generated business rates, which should help enable them to borrow against future rate income.

In addition to this potential new investment stream into energy projects, included amongst the technical papers is a specific Government’s proposal to support communities hosting renewable energy projects by allowing them to keep the business rates generated from such projects. The paper covers issues such as:

  • the types of renewable energy that would be covered by the proposals
  • what is meant by a “new renewable energy project”
  • how different scenarios of renewable energy projects would be dealt with
  • who would be responsible for determining whether a project was covered by the scheme and, therefore, not taken into account in the setting of any levy; and
  • how the business rates from a renewable energy project might be split between different authorities in two-tier areas
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