UK. Local Councils crucial to fighting climate change says Minister

Monday, 27 November 2006

Local authorities are at the forefront of the UK's efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions, Climate Change Minister Ian Pearson said today, as statistics on local and regional emissions for 2004 were released.

Mr Pearson said the statistics underlined the vital role of local authorities in fighting climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, both in their own work and in the wider community. "Everyone has a role to play in fighting climate change and reducing emissions." he said "As estate managers, service providers and community leaders, local authorities are at the forefront of the fight to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the UK. They have the power to make a great difference throughout the UK, and these statistics are an increasingly valuable resource to help them cut emissions.”

"These statistics reinforce the fact that domestic activity represents a large proportion of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions, and we must work to change people's attitudes and behaviours. This is an area in which local authorities can make a big contribution. Local authorities are connected to their local communities, and understand them well. As well as taking action to reduce emissions themselves, they have a vital role to play in challenging and informing their citizens.”

The statistics assign emissions to end users. For example, the emissions created by a power plant are assigned to the users of the electricity rather than to the plant itself.

The statistics showed that: Nationally, 44 per cent of emissions were attributed to 'industrial, commercial and public sector' sources, 29 per cent to the domestic sector and 28 per cent to road transport; In about a third of local authorities, the emissions from the domestic sector were higher than from the industrial, commercial and public sectors; About 48 per cent of domestic emissions are due to gas use, 41 per cent are due to electricity use, and 10 per cent are attributable to the use of other fuels.

Mr Pearson said that local authorities were increasingly taking up the challenge. "More than 200 local authorities have now signed up to the Nottingham Declaration, and many local authorities are already doing excellent work to reduce emissions in fields like promoting renewable energy and improving energy efficiency in public and private buildings.”

Mr Pearson said that the Government was taking action to reduce emissions from industry, business and the public sector, with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the Climate Change Levy and Climate Change Agreement.  The Government is currently consulting on proposals to further reduce emissions from organisations like supermarkets, hotel chains, large office buildings and central government departments by 1.4 million tonnes of carbon each year.

This is the second year that these statistics have been produced, and the quality of the estimates has been improved since the first results, for 2003. They are still experimental statistics and cannot on their own give all the information necessary to monitor the progress of all local emissions reductions initiatives. Defra is working towards providing reliable results that can act as meaningful performance indicators for local areas.

Last Updated ( Monday, 27 November 2006 )