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Presentation on theme: "CLIMATE CHANGE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT Mark Lowe Q.C. and Ryan Kholi."— Presentation transcript:


2 The Problem The threat from climate change is perhaps the greatest challenge facing our world. Without decisive and urgent action, it has the potential to be an economic disaster and an environmental catastrophe. That is why I have made it a top priority for this Government, both domestically and internationally. Tony Blair, Foreword to the Draft Climate Change Bill March 2007 UK produces c. 700 m tpa of greenhouse gasses Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report (February 2007) predicts increase in global temperatures of between 1.8C – 4C by end of the century Parts of the Arctic now 5C warmer than 100 years ago (WWF October 2007) Co2 is the main greenhouse gas in the UK accounting for c. 84% of emissions in 2005 (IPCC Figures 31/1/07)

3 Climate Change UK milder wetter winders and hot drier summers (40 degrees C) every 2 or 3 years by 2050 Peak rainfall intensity +5% to 2025 and 30% by Resulting in increased – River speed – off shore wind speed – wave heights (Stern Report and PPG 25)

4 The Role of the Local Authority 1. General Promotion of environmental well- being 2. Procurement 3. Joint Working 4. Planning Powers 5. Transport 6. Waste Management Flooding 7. Decent Homes

5 Powers of Local Government to Address Climate Change Part 1 Local Government Act 2000 – Broad powers including, specifically, promoting environmental well- being. Community strategy can include measures to combat climate change Local Government (Contracts) Act 1997 – Climate change can be relevant consideration when deciding on a procurement strategy s. 101 Local Government Act 1972 – Enables Local Authorities to work in partnership to achieve environmental goals

6 Duties on Local Authorities to Combat Climate Change s. 3 Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006 –Duty on local authorities to have regard to SoS report on Energy measures when exercising any of its functions Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 –Duty on local authorities to prepare an energy conservation report Code for Sustainable Homes; Planning Policy Statement No 1 and 22 –Sustainable development policies in PPS 1 must be taken into account by LPAs when developing local plans and assenting to development

7 Duty as Best Value Authorities Section 3 Local Government Act 1999: general duty of principal councils to have regard to economy, efficiency and effectiveness Well being powers drafted widely to assist Local Authorities to achieve best value duties Measures to reduce climate change must be taken with BV considerations in mind

8 Powers of Local Government: Well-Being Powers Section 2 of the LGA 2000 provides Every local authority are to have the power to do anything which they consider is likely to achieve any one or more of the following objects; … (c) the promotion or improvement of the environmental well-being of their area Responsibility to develop community strategies to develop well-being (s.4) –provides an opportunity for Local Authorities to develop a strategy on climate change: e.g. Woking Borough Council –as specific climate change strategy is discretionary, use has been limited –strategies may address: eg Planning and Regulation; Energy Services; Waste; Transport; Procurement; Education and Publicity; Management of Natural Habitats and Adapting to a Changing Climate;

9 Powers of Local Government: Procurement Local Authorities collectively spent £43 billion on procurement in (LGA Paper CCC2D) Major potential to use powers of procurement to promote environmental well being and reduction in carbon emissions HM Treasury guidance encourages whole life costing: eg cost of buildings may be higher but more than offset through lower energy bills and running costs, making the procurement decision both good value for money and good for the environment John Healey MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury

10 Powers of Local Government: Procurement Local Government Act 2000 s. 4 requires Local Authorities to produce sustainable community strategies. Identification within the strategy of those areas where local authorities have substantial procurement contracts (eg commercial buildings, construction and facilities management) and their capacity to influence energy efficient provision of those services. Strategy should contain goal to meet highest sustainability standards when spending on energy, new buildings and refurbishment. Can extend to food, construction materials, transport, uniforms and electrical goods

11 Powers of Local Government: Buildings and Building Regulations Building and Improved Inspectors (Amendment) Regulations 2006, to be reviewed in 2010 Aims to reduce carbon emissions from new build housing. Reg 17C –Sets minimum standards for new buildings Regs require 20% reduction over previous standard –Also require improvement in the energy performance of buildings of floor area over 1,000 sq metres. Local Authorities must ensure compliance with Building Regulations Local Authority buildings should be improved on refurbishment

12 The Zero Carbon Home: House Building and Public Housing The Code for Sustainable Homes: a step change in sustainable home building practice. All new homes built with public funding must achieve new standards – Code level 3 All new homes to be zero carbon by 2016 in England and 2011 in Wales The code is a new single national standard for designing and constructing homes to a higher standard of sustainability. Its role is to stand beside the Building Regulations as a successor to the BREs Ecohomes and to complement the system of Energy Performance Certificates which is being introduced in June 2007 under Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) The Sustainable development policies set out in PPS 1 need to be taken into account by LPAs when developing local plans and assessing development applications PPS 3 aims to improve the design and environmental standards of new homes and neighbourhoods in order to move towards zero carbon development.

13 The Zero Carbon Home Defined The code establishes a table of minimum standards by reference to star rating of new buildings. Avoidance of diversity of local standards. A 5 star home will achieve zero emissions re Building Regulations issues (i.e. zero emissions from heating, hot water, ventilation and lighting). A 6 star home is the true complete zero carbon home i.e. zero net carbon emissions from all sources. The standards relate to energy use/CO2 emmissions + water + materials + surface water run- off + site waste management and storage. There are nine categories of performance. The rating will be confirmed by the certification process at the close of construction. It is intended to be a voluntary code until April 2008 for the private sector but for all publicly funded housing a 3 star rating (equivalent to Ecohomes Very Good) is compulsory.

14 Planning Policy: PPS 22 – Sustainability and House Building See PPS 22 Renewable Energy Largely aspirational but (a) suggests RSS targets for renewable generation and (b) local authorities encouraged to set a target for renewable energy generation for new development (para 8). London Borough of Merton pioneered this project with their development plan policy which provides The council will encourage the energy efficient design of buildings and their layout and orientation on site. All new non-residential developments above a threshold of 1,000sqm will be expected to incorporate renewable energy production equipment to provide at least 10% of predicted energy requirements. London Plan amendments refer to 20% target. The use of sustainable building materials…will also be encouraged, as will the use of recycled aggregates in the construction of buildings. This will be subject to the impact on the amenity of the local environment, taking into account the existing character of the area. Where incorporation of renewable energy would make the development unviable it will not be expected. For example, for technical reasons it mat not be possible to mount solar or wind methods on a roof.

15 Powers of Local Government: Transport Local authorities can introduce a carbon offset charge for use of their car parks or offer discounts to low emitting vehicles as Woking Borough Council have proposed in their Climate Change Strategy. Revision of internal local authority vehicle fleet. All Council owned vehicles to be low carbon emitting vehicles. Licensing of Taxis (hackney carriages): conditions regarding type (eg hybrid engine or low emitting vehicle) and age of vehicle may be imposed s47(1) Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act New powers needed to specify type and age of vehicles for private hire vehicles, narrow discretion under s. 48(1) and(2 )

16 Waste Management European Landfill Directive: 99/31/EC - must be fully implemented by July 2009 Purpose is to reduce negative effects on the environment. Sets national targets for the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill for each LA in order to reduce methane emissions Many LAs have developed waste strategies to ensure they meet their targets Requires LAs to meet waste reduction targets.

17 Targets for Recycling Local Authorities must assist in meeting targets pursuant to the directive Target to reduce biodegradable municipal waste landfilled to 75% of 1995 levels by 2010 By 2013 to reduce landfill waste to 50% of 1995 level By 2020 to reduce landfill waste to 35% of 1995 level DEFRA Waste Management Strategy 2007 sets targets for waste reduction and recycling 40% of Household wasteby % by % by 2020

18 Waste Strategy Content Promoting a two bin waste collection, dividing goods between domestic waste and organic goods. Active programme of information and education to prevent the creation of waste. Recycling organic materials for compost and anaerobic digestion Recycling non-organic materials such as glass, cans and plastic

19 Flooding and Emergency Planning DEFRA has responsibility for policy and funding of flood risk management. Environment Agency is the principal body with day to day management of flood risk. Local Authorities have permissive powers to undertake flood defence work on ordinary watercourses. Land Drainage Act 1991 s. 10 allows local authorities to apply to the Environment Agency to carry out its powers in relation to flood defences.

20 Flooding and Emergency Planning Watercourses defined in Water Resources Act 1991 as any river, stream, ditch, drain, cut, culvert, dyke, sluice, sewer and passage through which water flows, except a public sewer Local Authorities can apply for grants towards the cost of capital flood and coastal erosion risk management projects from DEFRA through Environment Agency Grant-in-Aid Guidance in PPS 25 routinely requires flood risk assessments for developments in higher risk areas, and liaising closely with the Environment Agency in cases which raise concerns

21 Government Policy Strong and Prosperous Communities The Local Government White Paper. Published October 2006 –Sets out the direction for the wide range of Local Government roles and responsibilities –Clearly sets out the expected role Local Government will take on Climate Change (Volume II Annexe F [47]) New overview and scrutiny arrangements will allow local communities to hold local government accountable for its action, or inaction (F11) Increasing the scope and flexibility of Local Area Arrangements, enhancing the capacity of local authorities to work effectively with local partners (F12) Action on climate change to become part of the Local Government performance framework (F15)

22 Government Policy: Local Government White Paper 2006 DCLG and DEFRA programme Sustainable Energy Beacons: Leading the way to a low carbon future will deliver a benchmark for action on climate change (F24) –All local authorities will be able to measure their practices against it. –Assist local authorities to access sources of support and finding for sustainable energy and climate change by the Energy Saving Trust, the Carbon Trust and the Home Energy Conservation Association. Through the new Climate Change Commission announced in Oct 2006, the LGA is seeking to challenge councils and stakeholders to consider how local leadership can drive change both in climate change adaptation and mitigation. DCLG and DEFRA will conduct new study concerning Environment Contracts which will look at the role of local authorities and community groups in mobilising individuals to make a difference in climate change.

23 Government Policy: Draft Climate Change Bill Governments domestic target to reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions by 20% of the 1990 levels by 2010 Current projection is 16.2% of 1990 levels by 2010 largely due to rise in price of global energy prices which has altered relative prices of coal and gas leading a switch back to coal, increasing emissions in recent years. UK targets to reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions to be enshrined in statute (50% reduction from 1990 levels by 2050). Although no direct impact on local authorities, expectation that Local Government will help achieve emissions targets. Concept of Carbon Budgeting introduced: a carbon budget is a limit on the total quantity of carbon dioxide emissions over a specified period of time. Five year budget periods strikes a balance between certainty needed about how much carbon dioxide should be emitted over a period of time and the flexibility needed to accommodate the inevitable annual variations due to fuel prices and weather which can effect emissions.

24 Government Policy: Decent Homes Decent homes initiative: all social housing to be brought to a decent condition by Decent Home should be warm, weatherproof and have reasonably modern facilities. Has resulted in Local Authorities and Registered Social Landlords undertaking substantial refurbishment to housing stock. Significant improvement of the energy efficiency of the housing that they manage.

25 Partnership Working: Local Agenda 21 Local Agenda 21 –Process of developing local strategies for sustainable development. –Requires local authorities to build partnerships between sectors of the community such as businesses, voluntary groups, and young people to develop a Local Agenda 21 action plan. –Action plans cover issues such as waste, transport, energy and air pollution. –Outlines the roles of various sectors in encouraging sustainable development.

26 Partnership Working: Local Area Agreements Agreement between Central Government and a Local Authority setting out priorities for a local area. Local strategic partnerships of key local stakeholders are created to deliver the LAA. LAAs are structured around four policy fields, including economic development and environmental policy. They must also include indicators for measuring progress Eg Shropshire has introduced low carbon communities as an objective within its LAA

27 Partnership Working: Local Authority Joint Procurement Arrangement between local authorities for joint procurement can offer the possibility of pooling enterprise, budgets and functions of patterns (pursuant to Pt 1 of the LGA 2000; s. 101 LGA 1972 and the Local Government (Contracts) Act By pooling resources, Local Government will have a greater impact on the market and can use this influence to ensure suppliers of products adopt carbon neutral practices. Potential to influence suppliers who would not normally adopt carbon neutral practices to do so.

28 Informing the Public Through creating greater awareness of climate change and sustainability through education and publicity, Local Government will be best placed to achieve its aims Creation of programmes in schools such as Energy matters emphasising issues such as waste minimisation and recycling. Making Community Climate Change Strategies easily accessible. Introduction of local award schemes to recognise developments incorporating features that contribute to the long term aim of sustainable development.

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