DECC and Local Government working in partnership to tackle climate change
On 9 March 2011 Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and Councillor Richard Kemp, Vice-Chair of the Local Government Association, signed a ground-breaking Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) designed to recognise the pivotal role that local councils have in tackling climate change.
The MoU sets out how DECC and the Local Government (LG) Group will work together to help and encourage all councils to take firm action to:
- Reduce the carbon emissions from their own estate and operations
- Reduce carbon emissions from homes, businesses and transport infrastructure, creating more, appropriate renewable energy generation, using council influence and powers; and
- Participate in national carbon reduction initiatives at the local level, particularly the roll out of the Green Deal, smart metering and renewable energy deployment.
The MoU will be underpinned by:
- A management board on which DECC and the LG Group will be represented;
- A new and more ambitious ‘Nottingham Declaration’ where councils can declare their support and set self-imposed carbon reduction ambitions; and
- An action plan which will take forward specific actions outlined in the LG Group ‘offer’ to DECC.
The MOU stems from the speech Chris Huhne made at the Local Government Association (LGA) Annual Conference in Bournemouth in July 2010 where he challenged the local government with the following request:
“What I want to ask you to think of today, and in the weeks to come, is whether you can put forward to me another ‘offer’, outlining how local and central government can work together to meet our national climate change targets.” (Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP, speech to LGA Conference 7 July 2010)
Following the Secretary of State’s speech to delegates at the Local Government Association conference the LG Group (which incorporates the LGA) submitted an “offer” to the Secretary of State in September 2010.
The MOU builds on the success of the Local Carbon Framework (LCF) pilots that DECC has been running since September 2010 with the support of the LG Group, and will also involved reinvigorating the Nottingham Declaration Partnership as the mechanism for progressing the actions under the MOU. The Nottingham Declaration is a well-recognised ‘brand’ amongst local authorities and over 90% of councils have signed up to its original declaration which was instigated in the year 2000. It is a ‘bottom-up’ declaration that aspires to tackling climate change that has not been imposed by central government.