Climate action on a local level

As the COP26 summit draws to a close, Lib Dems in B&NES are calling for local government to be given more powers to help tackle climate change.

Local Councillors joined hundreds of others across the country in backing a letter to the Prime Minister and COP26 gathering, highlighting the urgent need to put words into action.

Cllr Sarah Warren

Councillor Sarah Warren, the B&NES Cabinet member for Climate and Sustainable Transport, said:

“What the country has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic will pale in comparison to the economic and social impacts of climate breakdown, if we do not take action immediately. The latest UK Climate Risk Assessment concluded that the UK is “woefully underprepared” for the impacts of climate change that will hit the country.

“The UK’s net zero targets can only be achieved if Government and local authorities work seamlessly together. More than half of the emissions cuts needed rely on people and businesses taking up low-carbon solutions – solutions around buildings, energy and transport – decisions that are made at a local and individual level.

“With 9 out of 10 councils having declared a climate emergency, full support from the Prime Minister and his government is needed to make sure local ambitions become a reality.”

Liberal Democrat Local Government Spokesperson Councillor Pippa Heylings, speaking at the COP26 summit said:

“The UK cannot meet net zero without local councils. Councils have influence over a third of the UK’s carbon emissions. We need to be able to work together with central government on this. Over 350 Liberal Democrat Councillors have signed this letter calling on the Prime Minister to take action.”

Bath MP, Wera Hobhouse, added:

“Given the right tools, local councils can play a vital role in the transition to net-zero. Many of the urgent decisions are local. Decarbonising buildings, transport, waste, industry, reducing emissions from agriculture and planting trees are all dependent on delivery at a local level.

“To enable local government to play its part and unlock the benefits of climate action in communities, it must be given more powers and more resources. Councils like ours here in Bath hold the key to achieving net-zero but the Government must empower them. The UK has an opportunity to set a global example by giving local authorities the tools that they need.”