Environmental Audit Committee Press Notice

28 July 2008

Climate Change and local, regional and devolved government

A step change in activity is needed across all levels of government to meet the challenges of climate change, the Environmental Audit Committee concludes today.

In its report, Climate change and local, regional and devolved government, the Committee says the Government has made encouraging efforts to raise the profile of climate change issues at all levels. However, it warns that contradictions in cross-government policy remain.

The Committee found there are tensions between regional airport expansion and the need to limit emissions from aviation; it is not clear how the targets to build more homes will be compatible with efforts to lower emissions; increased road building and lack of a national strategy on road pricing are incompatible with the need to reduce emissions from road transport. And it is unclear how district renewable energy and district heating are to be taken into account.

MPs call for a more joined up approach and say it is the role of central government to ensure efforts by local, regional and devolved government are coordinated.

Measures to adapt to the impacts of climate change should also be given a higher priority.

Chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee Tim Yeo MP said: "Local, regional and devolved government all have distinctive roles to play in tackling climate change. A step change in the level of activity is needed at all levels and the Government has put in place a number of changes in the policy framework and performance management of local government that should help to bring this about.

"However, while a great deal of attention is being paid to efforts to reduce emissions; much less is paid to adaptation. Even if we are successful in reducing emissions we will face changes in our climate and much more needs to be done to prepare for that.

"It will be vital to get the right targets in place to deliver the kind of action needed on both mitigation and adaptation."

The Committee would also like to see:

  • Incentives for local, regional and devolved government to encourage action on climate change.
  • Climate Change indicators included in Local Area Agreements.
  • Action by the Government to make sure local authorities are acting to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change across their full range of activities.
  • The commitments made in the Nottingham Declaration turned into real actions. The Government should work with the Nottingham Partners to develop a scheme that combines self-assessment and external verification actions.
  • Local authorities encouraged to use the powers available to them creatively and innovatively if it will reduce emissions and drive forward work on adaptation.
  • Action by the Government to address any gaps in the skills and knowledge needed to meet the step change in activity at the different levels of government.

Notes for Editors:

The report published today by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is its Eighth Report of Session 2007-08, Climate change and local, regional and devolved government, HC 225. Details of all the Committee's press releases together with its Reports, oral evidence and other publications, are available on the Committee's website at: www.parliament.uk/eacom

Copies of the EAC report will be available in hard copy from 11am on 28 July 2008; and can be obtained from TSO outlets and from the Parliamentary Bookshop, 12 Bridge Street, Parliament Square, London SW1A 2JX (020 7219 3890) by quoting House of Commons No 225. The text of the Report will also be available from approximately 3.30pm onwards on its publication date, on the Committee's Internet homepage: www.parliament.uk/eacom

For further information on the report, or to bid to interview the Chairman, journalists may phone the Committee's press officer, Laura Kibby, on 020 7219 0718.



Chairman: Mr Tim Yeo, MP

Mr Gregory Barker MP Mr Nick Hurd MP Mr Graham Stuart MP
Mr Martin Caton MP Mr Mark Lazarowicz MP Jo Swinson MP
Mr Colin Challen MP Ian Liddell-Grainger MP Dr Desmond Turner MP
Mr David Chaytor MP Shahid Malik MP Joan Walley MP
Martin Horwood MP Mrs Linda Riordan MP Phil Woolas MP*

* The Minister for the Environment has ex-officio membership of the Committee in like manner to the Financial Secretary's membership of the Committee of Public Accounts.