The Blueprint Coalition, an influential partnership of local government, environmental and research organisations, has called on the government to retain its key net zero commitments.
Following news of the Government’s intention to drop or roll back on existing climate targets, the Coalition has warned that the impact of reversing current policies will damage essential climate action and hurt local economies.
In successive joint policy reports, the group’s environmental practitioners and experts have set out how local government is critical in reaching climate targets. They have highlighted the key national policy levers for unlocking cost-effective, rapid local progress on net zero, and tracked government progress on delivering these.
The Coalition has also published a set of Manifesto Asks, highlighting the commitments the political parties must make to enable local places to decarbonise around the UK, and to protect their communities’ jobs, livelihoods and health from climate change.
Ann Carruthers, 1st Vice President of ADEPT said: “Local authorities are committed to climate action, but need targeted support. The Government’s own Skidmore Review argued that localised, place-based measures are more effective and provide better value than a top-down, siloed approach.
“It has been clearly demonstrated that investment in net zero is an economic opportunity rather than simply a cost. Backtracking on targets doesn’t show pragmatism, but rather a lack of leadership. It sends confusing messages to business and consumers. Failing to invest in the economic future of local places goes against the clear policies that key industries need to plan their investment and create the jobs of the future.”
Ashok Sinha, CEO of Ashden Climate Solutions said: “Reversing policies announced less than two years ago in the Government’s Net Zero strategy will jeopardise the ambitious local climate action plans of councils across the country.
“Progress towards net zero is already too slow and patchy, as highlighted by the Committee for Climate Change, and in our own progress tracker published last winter. Moving the goalposts now will simply make hitting 2050 net zero targets more difficult and costly.”
Dr Candice Howarth (Head of Local Climate Action at LSE’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, and Co-Director of the Place-Based Climate Action Network) said: “The evidence is clear – the environmental, human and economic costs of climate change are already being felt at the local, regional and national levels, and will only continue to increase. The record breaking temperatures, over 40 degrees, experienced in the UK for the first time in 2022 are a preview of what is to come if urgent action isn’t taken, and our research has shown that the UK is not prepared for these events. We urgently need to ramp up efforts to transition to a green economy if we are to protect local economies, jobs and livelihoods, reduce the shocks of the climate crisis on household budgets, and safeguard people’s health.
“This is the only pragmatic and responsible course of action and it is too important to play politics with. Rather than scaling back ambition and targets, the UK government needs to go further than what it has already committed. That is why our cross-sector Coalition will continue to call on all parties to urgently recommit to key targets on climate, emissions reductions, energy, housing, transport and waste reduction.”