CABE urges shift to spur effective local climate response
5 March 2009
Four policy proposals could spur local and central government to develop a much quicker and more effective response to climate change, a new CABE report says.
Hallmarks of a sustainable city is a distillation of the two-year research programme behind CABE’s Sustainable Places programme. It describes the opportunity of climate change, how to recognise a sustainable city, and what needs to be done to make them a reality.
There are four policy recommendations in the report:
- Local authorities must be required to show how they are reducing carbon emissions both from their own buildings and also per capita in the local authority area. CABE wants government to make mandatory the relevant national indicators (NI 185 and NI 186) which measure local authority performance.
- Whitehall should become the greenest property estate in Britain. Every building in Whitehall owned or occupied by a government department should increase its energy efficiency, as set out by display energy certificates, by at least one rating in the next 12 months (eg a building rated at G would need to become F).
- DEFRA should run a competitive funding programme to promote urban greenways. Green infrastructure will play a fundamental role in preparing towns and cities for climate change. Government should mark the Queen’s Jubilee in 2012 with the opening of hundreds of new greenways in every major conurbation across the country.
- Government should launch a sustainable neighbourhoods scheme. This will shift the agenda beyond individual homes or estates, and establish a programme which shows what can be achieved at a neighbourhood level.
Hallmarks of a sustainable city encapsulates the cross-sectoral and thematic approach of the new website. It also defines the characteristics of sustainable places. CABE believes these are places where: there will be an appetite for change; leaders who can think long term; a capacity to work across administrative boundaries; freedom to control land and assets; and a complete focus on whole-life value.
The report has been written to support the people that lead local authorities as well as national and regional government, development agencies and voluntary organisations. These are the actors who can forge a new vision for our towns and cities, regardless of the recession.