Ref: 77/08
Date: 11 March 2008

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4 million to help local authorities fight climate change

A new £4 million programme to help local authorities tackle climate change was announced by Environment Minister Phil Woolas and Local Government Minister John Healey today.

The programme will spread existing best practice on climate change among local authorities, and provide training and mentoring to help them reduce emissions and adapt to the already unavoidable effects of climate change.

The programme, jointly funded by Defra and Communities and Local Government, will be tailored to local needs and priorities, with delivery being co-ordinated at a regional level.

From April, councils’ success in cutting carbon dioxide emissions will be measured as part of a new performance framework. They will also be assessed on their efforts to adapt to the effects of climate change, and to tackle fuel poverty. Many councils are expected to set specific targets to lead the drive to cut back on carbon emissions in their areas.

Phil Woolas said:

“Local authorities have a vital role to play in tackling climate change through local leadership and service delivery.  They need to look beyond their own estates and operations – important though these are – for opportunities to cut carbon, and work with people and businesses in their area to inspire change across the whole community. 

“This new programme will provide additional support and guidance for authorities to learn from the best practice that is already out there, and to identify and implement effective measures that suit their local circumstances.”

John Healey said:

"Whether it’s making sure our homes are well insulated, improving public transport, or advising people about low energy light bulbs, our local councils have a crucial role to play in helping us adapt to climate change.

“They are set to be increasingly at the forefront of pioneering new local ways to cut back emissions and tackle climate change. Backed by £185m over the next three years – and with this extra focus on climate change – our new regionally led improvement partnerships will help councils to lead this work."

Mr Woolas also paid tribute to six local authorities for their effectiveness in tackling climate change in innovative ways.

Eastleigh Borough Council, the City of London, Barking and Dagenham, Middlesbrough, Woking Borough Council and Worcestershire County Council were all awarded Beacon status at a ceremony in London last week for their efforts to tackle climate change.

The Beacon award recognises the innovative and effective ways in which local authorities are facing up to the challenge of climate change.

The six Beacon authorities have demonstrated a commitment to tackling climate change throughout the organisation, a consistent track record of achievement over the years and the ability to use innovative methods to engage all sections of the community in helping to play their part.

Mr Woolas said:

"Local authorities are on the frontline in tackling climate change and I am delighted these authorities have been recognised as Beacons for their outstanding contribution to our efforts.  Defra will continue to work closely with them to help share their expertise with other local authorities.”     

Notes to editors

1. The Local Authority Best Practice Programme on Climate Change responds to a commitment in the 2006 UK Climate Change Programme. It will provide support and encouragement to local authorities so that they can deliver effectively against the new climate change requirements of the new Local Government Performance Framework. It will address both mitigation and adaptation to climate change and is targeted particularly at those local authorities who identify climate change as a priority in their Local Area Agreements.

2. It is proposed that the new Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships will have primary responsibility for local delivery and promoting the Programme in their regions., A Programme Board consisting of local authority experts, central Government Departments and national delivery bodies such as the Carbon Trust and Energy Saving Trust will guide its development and delivery and the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) will act as national programme co-ordinator.

3. The Programme will draw on existing experience, including that of the Beacon Scheme, which identifies those authorities that are delivering the best services to their local citizens and can teach others to do the same. A Sustainable Energy Beacon Theme has recently been completed and examples of best practice can be found at A new Beacon theme on Tackling Climate Change was launched last year, with the successful applicants announced on 4 March 2008.

4. The ‘Energy Measures’ report, published by BERR, with input from Defra and CLG, in September 2007, sets out steps that local authorities can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by improving energy efficiency; increasing the levels of micro-generation and low carbon technologies; and reducing the number of households living in fuel poverty. See

5. To find out more information about the Beacon scheme and how to apply see:

6. The Beacon Scheme was set up to disseminate best practice in service delivery across local government. Each year, around ten themes are selected for each round of the scheme by Ministers. The themes represent issues which are important in the day-to-day lives of the public and reflect key government priorities.


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Page published: 11 March 2008

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs