Member ResourcesCarbon net-zero resources
This page aims to keep you up to date with the latest news related to Carbon net-zero targets, alongside useful links and resources.
This week the Climate Change Committee published its 2023 Annual Progress report to Parliament proving a comprehensive overview of the UK Government’s progress in reducing emissions. The commission welcomed the increased transparency embodied in the publication of the Carbon Budget Delivery Plan (CBDP) but highlighted its confidence in the UK meeting its medium-term targets has decreased in the past year.
We have responded to the Climate Change Committee report, stating our concern. We added that councils could impact over 80 per cent of emissions in their area and that, as local leaders, councils can lead targeted climate action that would hit net zero targets for half the costs and generate three times the returns. We have called for backing to rapidly retrofit social and fuel poor homes, decarbonise transport, protect and grow biodiversity, and powers to roll out renewable energy schemes.
NAO report on waste
The National Audit Office has today published a report on ‘The government’s resources and waste reforms for England’ which found that household recycling rates in England had stalled over the last decade. The report is critical of Defra for not having long-term planning to tackle waste and boost recycling. We have responded stating that councils work hard to maintain recycling rates and divert millions of tonnes of waste from landfill.
We believe that although more needs to be done to boost recycling to reach national targets and even higher standards, avoiding creating waste in the first place is the best way to decrease how much ends up in landfill. Councils need certainty on the timetable for implementation of the full set of Defra’s reforms to waste and recycling. We have stated that councils need the flexibility to meet the needs of communities and play their lead role working with government, industry, and communities to lead this change in partnership.
Energy Bills Discount Scheme
The Department for Energy Security & Net Zero has published a bulk upload template for the Energy Bills Discount Scheme heat network support. Heat suppliers can now make a single application for multiple heat networks.
The scheme was created to provide domestic customers on heat networks with support for their heating and hot water bills. This is because heat networks purchase energy through commercial contracts, so the Energy Price Guarantee does not apply.
All heat suppliers with domestic end consumers are required by law to apply for the scheme and pass on the benefit they receive to their end consumers. The heat supplier is the body responsible for supplying and charging for the supply of heating and/or hot water supplied by the heat network. Councils and housing associations that operate heat networks will need to apply.
EV chargepoint utilisation
New research by the Green Finance Institute and Zapmap has revealed the flatlining utilisation rates of most public electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints. Despite significant growth in the number of EVs on the road and the country’s charging infrastructure between Q4 2021 and Q4 2022, the research found that the time-based utilisation of charge points across most power ratings did not change significantly during this period. On average, time-based utilisation increased from just under 14 per cent in Q4 2021 to 15 per cent in Q4 2022. However, one exception to this trend was the time-based utilisation of ultra-rapid chargers (100kW+) increasing from just over 12 per cent to more than 16 per cent over the same period.
Net Zero neighbourhoods
Councils seeking private sector funding for net zero schemes are invited to put forward their proposals to 3Ci – the Cities Commission for Climate Investment. 3Ci is looking for projects to be included in a new National Net Zero Neighbourhoods Programme, which will support and raise the profile of pilot schemes looking for local investment. This is a non-competitive process.
Decarbonising Local Roads
Government has announced £30 million in funding for innovative projects to decarbonise UK highways. Seven local highways authorities have been awarded funding through the Live Labs 2: Decarbonising Local Roads competition. The winning projects include cutting carbon emissions from streetlights to replacing asphalt with material made from green waste. Other projects plan to drive changes to the design, construction, and maintenance of typical UK highway construction, as well as other innovations on green infrastructure delivery.
Greenhouse Gas Accounting Suite of Tools
The Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool has been developed by Local Partnerships, working with the LGA, to provide a straightforward and consistent approach for councils seeking to calculate their own carbon baseline. Alongside the tool is a Waste Emissions Calculator that has been developed by Cambridgeshire County Council and UCL on the LGA Net Zero Innovation Programme. If you have any questions or suggestions for improvement in relation to the tool and/or the calculator, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding to cut air pollution
As a reminder, the Government’s £7 million Air Quality Grant remains open for bids until 23 September. The grant aims to help councils develop and implement measures to benefit schools, businesses and communities and reduce the impact of air pollution on people’s health. Councils can bid for a portion of the fund for a wide range of projects to improve air quality and create cleaner and healthier environments. The full grant criteria is available online with further details on how to apply.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced that National Highways is to become the first designated “Relevant Public Authority” placing a legal requirement on it to work together with local councils to take effective action to improve air quality. In addition to this, Defra has updated Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) Policy Guidance to reflect legislative changes introduced through the Environment Act 2021, which includes the requirement for local authorities to produce an Air Quality Action Plan within 18 months of declaring an Air Quality Management Area.
LGA Climate Change Survey 2021
In October 2021, the LGA conducted a survey of the climate change officers of all councils in England. Thank you to everyone who responded, the findings and key messages have now been published. The purposes of the survey were to understand what actions local authorities are taking to combat climate change, to assess their future needs for support in this area and to evaluate the climate change sector support offer provided by the LGA.
Council Climate Plan Scorecards launched
This week, Climate Emergency UK, a sector-led organisation established in 2019 to track and record councils’ climate change commitments, has launched its Council Climate Plan Scorecards which assess all of UK councils’ publicly available climate action plans and strategies. The findings for councils are varied and found that more than one in five councils in the UK have no climate action plan. In our response we reiterated that councils have a fundamental role to play in tackling climate change but can only reach net zero by being properly empowered.
Trees Call to Action Fund
You can apply for tree-planting grants from a new £6 million Trees Call to Action Fund recently announced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), in partnership with the Forestry Commission. Grants of £250,000 to £500,000 will be awarded to projects across England, at least three of which will be used for new regional partnerships set up to create woodlands and improve people’s access to nature.
Business Climate Leaders toolkit
BEIS has produced a toolkit for small and medium sized businesses to support the Business Climate Leaders campaign, which councils are encouraged to share with businesses in their communities. The campaign is part of the Government’s Together For Our Planet campaign, encouraging everyone to cut carbon emissions and help the UK get to net zero by 2050.
A councillor's workbook on the local pathway to net zero
A workbook from the LGA designed as a distance learning aide for local councillors.
LGA climate change hub
A link to the LGA Climate Change hub.
Greenhouse gas accounting tool
Provides a consistent approach for councils seeking to calculate their carbon baseline.
Local government, climate change and the environment
Key guidance and information for councils on topics related to climate change, net zero and the environment.