The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) English Forum holds it summer seminar tomorrow in Leeds Town Hall welcoming that almost 100 councils have declared ‘climate emergency’ resolutions. It calls now for determined action to deliver on ‘net zero’ carbon emissions as soon as they can. (1)
The seminar will particularly focus on how Councils will seek to deliver on its low carbon pledges and will present a number of best practice examples. It will also consider a NFLA report (2) that looks at imaginative and ground-breaking ways some Councils / city regions are developing to deliver increased levels of carbon reduction and tackling fuel poverty.
The NFLA report though concludes that there is a ‘carbon gap’ which Councils will struggle to narrow without increased powers and funding from central government. This has been reiterated in comments made by the President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) at its annual conference yesterday. The Institute said that the UK Government must give local planning authorities more powers and money to enable carbon neutral buildings and infrastructure systems if the UK is to meet the ‘net zero’ target.
The RTPI has initiated a new campaign that includes the re-introduction of the scrapped zero carbon homes standard, more investment in green heat and sustainable transport systems across the country, and more money to help local authorities to plan for a net zero future. (3)
NFLA supports such moves as it believes it will be increasingly difficult in the medium-term to reach the ambitious targets set by many Councils (and therefore by central government), despite there being a welcome increase in determination and political will to place low carbon energy action at the heart of local government.
The NFLA English Forum seminar will focus on the following issues:
- The NFLA Secretary Sean Morris will provide an overview to its report on the ‘climate emergency’ and local authority renewable energy action as part of its work to promote fossil-free, nuclear-free forms of energy generation.
- Professor Andy Gouldson, Chair of the Leeds Climate Commission will outline its work in delivering a ‘zero carbon’ city region. Leeds, Belfast and Edinburgh have been given additional UK Government funding to also lead on a number of low carbon projects in England. (4)
- Leeds City Council Senior Project Manager George Munson will outline the Council’s work on delivering an ambitious district heating programme and its wider work with Northern Gas Networks to support moves for a hydrogen economy. Leeds is holding the National Hydrogen Conference on the 27th and 28th (5)
- Anna Dodd, Energy and Environment Manager, Leicester City Council, will outline its long-standing district heating strategy and its wider moves to deliver a ‘zero carbon’ Leicester.
NFLA member authorities across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are heavily committed to the goal of ‘net zero’ carbon emissions and have been consistently calling for decentralised, renewable energy strategies to be at the heart of all local government for some time now. NFLA has long-held an energy strategy that calls for the delivering of a wide renewable energy mix, promoting local and comprehensive energy efficiency and energy storage schemes to deal with demand reductions and intermittency, and for local government to lead on microgeneration and local ‘smart’ energy solutions.
NFLA will continue to promote best practice in this area of policy and encourage innovative solutions to deliver the sort of low carbon policies the planet needs. It will also continue to lobby the UK and Irish Governments, and devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to provide the powers and additional finance that are urgently needed.
NFLA English Forum and Steering Committee Chair Councillor David Blackburn said:
“The NFLA has been working for a number of years on showing that the renewable energy alternatives to new nuclear and fossil fuels are a core part of the solution for mitigating climate change now and in the future. It is clear the public and local government now understand there is a real and urgency climate emergency to respond to. Through this seminar and its report on local authority low carbon energy action there are encouraging moves to deliver on zero carbon pledges. However, local Councils need dynamic action and support from central Government to provide powers and additional finance. We all know the good of society requires urgent action to mitigate climate change. NFLA is glad Councils understand the logic of rapid and radical change, now all need to deliver on those promises, and deliver fast.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) NFLA English Forum – Summer Seminar: Friday 21st June, Grimshaw Room, 2nd Floor, Leeds Town Hall, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3AD 10.30am – 1.30pm
Climate emergency resolutions – How do Councils move from plans to action?
(2) NFLA Policy Briefing 187, 7th May, ‘Climate emergency declarations and the practicalities in Local Authority Action to go carbon neutral’
(3) Business Green, 20th June 2019
(4) Environmental Journal Online, 31st January 2019
(5) National Hydrogen Summit, Leeds, 27th and 28th June 2019