n 5 May, voters across England, Wales, and Scotland will go to the polls in the latest round of local elections. Local government right across the UK is a vital stakeholder for members of both EIC and ACE with many working with a number of local authorities to help set ambitious targets on Net Zero.
Meanwhile, the Government’s recent Net Zero Strategy has focused on improving the relationship between central and local government and improving co-ordination. According to the Climate Change Committee (CCC), local authorities are “a cornerstone of climate change partnerships”. They are, “the closest form of government to local people” and know, “what works best in their areas”. This is especially important as many of the areas where reductions will need to be made have “a strong local dimension”, such as decarbonising buildings, transport, and waste.
Councils – with the help of our members – are already taking a leading role on decarbonisation and at a time when they are resetting following the pandemic, driving a green recovery. Over 300 local councils have declared a climate emergency and the National Audit Office (NAO) has found that almost two thirds of English councils are aiming for carbon neutrality 20 years ahead of the national target.
Over 300 local councils have declared a climate emergency and the National Audit Office (NAO) has found that almost two thirds of English councils are aiming for carbon neutrality 20 years ahead of the national target. Guto Davies
It is only by supporting local government that central government will deliver a “fair” transition which benefits all stakeholders in all communities. This means increasing opportunities for EIC and ACE members to work with local government on the delivery of green solutions to the climate challenge – whether it is supporting the decarbonisaiton of homes, delivering transport infrastructure and modal shifts, or ensuring local clean energy projects are completed.
Our members are ready with the environmental solutions to deliver on these ambitions, but it is vital that we establish a transformative model based on collaboration, procuring for outcomes, encouraging the use of smart data, and apportioning risk to encourage innovation.
If we get this right, then this smart, local procurement can unlock huge opportunities for all involved. For the businesses behind the smart technology, it will create new opportunities. For towns, cities, and local authorities, it will allow them to deliver on their green promises. For residents it will mean happier, healthier, more sustainable, and better-connected communities. We are on the brink of an exciting future.
Guto Davies is head of policy at the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC).