NFLA English, Scottish & Wales Forums media release
Following its 40th anniversary last week (1), the UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) publishes today a detailed report on how essential a ‘green recovery’ is to the huge economic challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the important role Councils need to play within it. (2)
As the report notes, around the world many governments have committed more than $12tn to kick-start their economies ravaged by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is about 15% of global gross domestic product (GDP) and multiple times more than that put forward in the aftermath of the global financial crisis 10 years ago. However, Bloomberg has recently estimated that less than 0.2% of this money has been targeted at post-carbon economic priorities.
With climate efforts by governments worldwide currently insufficient to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement, NFLA argue that strong green stimulus measures could help meet its core objectives if just a fraction of the Covid-19 fiscal stimulus is invested annually in a “climate-positive” recovery. Such a recovery would bring about multiple other benefits while stimulating the economy, such as job creation, stimulating innovation and technological developments. This has been highlighted by several recent reports, including a survey of over 230 experts worldwide and the latest World Energy Outlook from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
A ‘green recovery’ can be defined as:
- one that delivers for the long term;
- introducing policies that catalyse job creation into growth industries;
- and empowers citizens, improves public health and drives innovation while all the time removing our contribution to the climate crisis.
For a successful ‘green recovery’ governments must enable change, existing programmes must be accelerated, new and more effective partnerships must deliver, and local authorities must work with their citizens to build a resilient locality that meets their needs. There also needs to be a joint commitment to a Green Economic Recovery from both Local and National Government. Any public stimulus investment decisions should be conditional on a greener future.
The NFLA report considers the planned responses of the UK, Scottish, Welsh, Irish and Northern Ireland Governments to delivering a green recovery. It welcomes some policies, but remains concerned that not enough investment has been announced in an area that could generate both new jobs and zero carbon economic activity. Furthermore, NFLA are concerned that leading UK Ministers were meeting yesterday to discuss new nuclear being a part of a green recovery, when it is clearly not cost effective, environmentally damaging to the local area and will prevent alternative renewable energy solutions to be developed instead. (3)
The report concludes that if all nations within the UK and Ireland are to create a net zero carbon energy system that is both fairer, cleaner, healthier and produces local economic benefits, then NFLA believes the number and scope of projects will need to increase dramatically and be replicated across every region, with the support of every community and local organisations. The evidence is that the public supports action against climate change, provided it is properly consulted and measures are implemented fairly. Now we need the UK, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments to provide local areas with the resources and powers to truly unleash a net zero carbon resolution as a crucial part of a ‘green recovery’ from this current pandemic.
The report concludes with 37 excellent recent examples where Councils of all political hue are developing as part of their climate emergency action plans from across the UK and Ireland. Such examples emphasise that, despite the economic crisis many of them are in, they still see the critical nature of working to a zero carbon future.
NFLA Steering Committee Chair, Councillor David Blackburn said:
“This excellent and detailed NFLA report shows the central role local government needs to play in delivering a green recovery as a core part of the response to the economic crisis brought about the by the Covid-19 pandemic. It calls on real ambition from central government and vision from our local councillors. The many case studies highlighted in this report shows that local government is up for delivering the vital policies that will help our economy recover from the public health crisis. What they need is a partnership with central government, new powers and of course new resource. With the climate emergency not getting any easier it is imperative that government deliver a green recovery to ensure that critical targets over the next two decades are met. I encourage councillors, council officers, Parliamentarians and central government read this important report.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes to Editors:
(1) NFLA 40th anniversary webpage –
(2) NFLA Policy Briefing 207 on a Local Authority Green Recovery is attached with this media release and is on the NFLA website https://www.nuclearpolicy.info
(3) BBC 9th November 2020