Kingston Lib Dems endorse Local Carbon Budgets

Kingston Liberal Democrats are supporting a Friends of the Earth led-campaign calling for the Coalition Government to enact Local Carbon Budgets. We believe that devolving responsibility for slashing the nation’s carbon emissions to the local level would be “the best way to get us to a zero carbon future”.

Lib Dems have been a long term champion of localism. We believe councils are not only the most financially efficient and democratically accountable form of government, but they are also often the best way to get residents together to solve problems.

More often than not, giving communities the flexibility and power they deserve leads to innovation and exceptional results. Tackling the global challenge of climate change should be no exception.

We want Kingston Council to work with our residents on clean energy programmes, green travel and home insulation. We are also best placed to consult with local businesses and large institutions such as schools and hospitals to get serious results. Localised Carbon Budgets seems like a sensible way to empower such area based action.

We support a cross-party letter calling on Environment Secretary Chris Huhne to introduce legislation in this session of parliament, which would see Local Carbon Budgets coming into effect in 2013. The Budgets would place a fair cap on local emissions over a five year period based on the need to meet the national carbon targets set by the 2008 UK Climate Change Act – and local circumstances, such as the state of housing stock and opportunities for networks for renewable energy. 


Wording of the letter

Dear Chris Huhne,

As councils championing work to tackle climate change in our local areas, we share the Government’s commitment to meeting the Climate Change Act targets and the Committee on Climate Change’s concern that a step change in the pace of implementation is needed across the range of measures to cut emissions.
The work of councils across the country has shown that action to tackle climate change, coordinated in local areas, can deliver significant emissions cuts in a cost effective way, bringing tangible benefits to local residents, employees and businesses.

We think it is essential that such area-based action to tackle climate change is rolled out nationwide. Meeting our national targets will require all areas to make substantial emissions cuts, and coordinating action between our areas will bring efficiency gains and scales of economy that benefit us all.
We propose that Government introduces legislation for local carbon budgets. Local carbon budgets would help drive the ambitious emissions cuts needed by supporting and empowering local authorities nationwide to lead effective carbon reduction strategies across local areas, working in partnership with national Government and local stakeholders.

Fair budgets would be based on both the need to meet UK Climate Change Act commitments and local circumstances. Each council or group of councils would work with partners to draw up a climate change strategy and action plan showing how emissions will be cut in the area to meet the budget. The document would set out the partnership between the local authority, local stakeholders and national Government and the measures each will take. Partners would have a duty to cooperate to ensure the strategy is successful. The budget and strategy would be based on a rigorous evidence base of timely emissions data and opportunity mapping of the technical feasibility for emissions cuts in the local area. Local people and stakeholders would have a say in the low carbon future of their communities through consultation and community panels.

We propose that Government works with councils and stakeholders, including the Local Government Association and Friends of the Earth, to develop this model of local carbon budgets and introduce them during this session of Parliament.

We think this offer of a nationwide system of local carbon budgets would introduce a coherent and coordinated approach to tackling climate change between local and national Government, and between local authorities, and would deliver substantially on the task of meeting UK climate targets.

Yours sincerely,

Co-signed by Council Leaders, Deputy Leaders and Executive Portfolio Holders for Environmental Policy from across the country 

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