The new President of the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT), Mark Kemp, has launched the Climate Change and Green Growth policy position.
The paper, which urges government to give local authorities the powers, resources and funding they need to deliver net zero, sets out ADEPT’s position that national targets will only be met through climate change action at the local level.
Launched at the ADEPT spring conference last week, the policy position sets out how climate change targets can only be achieved with coordinated leadership, support and resource from government. A clear framework for delivery, coherent policy and powers for councils and appropriate long-term funding are all required to meet these targets.
Key to achieving climate change action is behaviour change. 50 per cent of the emissions reductions needed rely on households and businesses adopting low-carbon solutions[i] – as a result, local authorities must be enabled to facilitate that behavioural change through how we design our places and where we install new infrastructure.
The paper urges policy coherence from government, to ensure that policies, such as addressing climate change, enabling green growth and achieving levelling up, are properly integrated. In addition, the policy position calls for planning reform to be aligned with strategies for net zero and adaptation, levelling up, biodiversity and health and wellbeing. Climate change and green growth must be the key drivers across these policy areas.
The paper also stresses the importance of ensuring climate resilience in our places, arguing that we must do more to build resilience into local and national infrastructure, and to design and deliver place-based services with this in mind.
Mr Kemp said: “Our climate is already changing – the evidence for that is overwhelming – and as a result we have to provide a rapid response. The impacts of the climate emergency are already being felt and there is much we can do around flooding and coastal erosion as well as using nature based recovery strategies to increase habitat and mitigate climate change.
“However, we will not meet our national net zero targets without fully enabling local councils.
“Investing in green skills and jobs will underpin success in meeting climate targets. Only by investing equally in new technology, multimodal transport, the circular economy and retrofitting housing, for example, along with green jobs, will we build a resilient and skilled workforce, which is equipped to transition from a fossil fuel economy to one that is fit for the future. Our communities – as well as our infrastructure – must be both resilient and sustainable and we need to be able to design and deliver services accordingly.
“I urge government to recognise the critical role of local authorities in delivering net zero and climate change action.”
Mr Kemp is the Executive Director of Environment and Transport at Hertfordshire County Council. He takes over the role as President of ADEPT from Paula Hewitt, Deputy Chief Executive, Lead Director for Economic and Community Infrastructure and Director of Commissioning at Somerset County Council.
The ADEPT Climate Change and Green Growth Policy Position is here: www.adeptnet.org.uk/documents/adept-policy-position-climate-change-green-growth
(Picture – ADEPT)