Net Zero emissions: UK Mayors and local leaders call for devolved powers to hit carbon target

A joint statement signed by 32 UK mayors and local leaders has called for greater devolved powers and resources to tackle climate change ahead of COP26.

Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, co-hosted the summit for local leaders.
Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, co-hosted the summit for local leaders.

A group of 32 UK Mayors and local leaders have today signed a joint statement calling for greater devolved powers for local authorities to deliver Net Zero emissions.

The statement says that the government must make “urgent” policy changes to allow local authorities to act on emissions, including the introduction of a ‘Net Zero Local Powers Bill’ for cementing new powers.

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At a glance: 5 key points

-The International Net Zero Local Leadership Summit hosted on July 13 brought together local leaders from the UK and abroad to discuss the challenges faced by local authorities in tackling climate change.

- Local leaders, part of the “UK100” climate-focused local authority network, have signed a joint statement calling on central government to devolve additional powers and resources to allow local authorities to deliver Net Zero emissions before 2050.

- The Climate Change Committee (CCC) recently estimated that local authorities are able to influence around a third of emissions in their local areas through place shaping and partnerships.

- Local leaders and the CCC have said that local authorities don’t currently have the necessary powers to decarbonise housing and transport in line with the UK’s Net Zero target.

- Regions including the West Midlands and cities including Newcastle and Manchester have already been trialling local energy management, with Ofgem finding such programmes effective at cutting carbon emissions.

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What’s been said

Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands, said: “Climate change is a global emergency, and we know that every region and city across the world is going to have to play their part in tackling it.

“That’s why I’m really pleased that the West Midlands, in partnership with UK100, has been able to bring local leaders together today to discuss our role in this looming crisis.

“Here in the UK, the Government has set out ambitious targets to achieve net zero by 2050, and we want the West Midlands to play its part in that by meeting our net zero target by 2041.

Polly Billington, CEO of UK100, said: “We need a power shift from central government to local communities to tackle climate change. Local leaders are more trusted, more accountable and in the case of the UK100 - more ambitious in accelerating the path to Net Zero.”

Background

The UK government has committed to delivering Net Zero emissions by 2050.

Local leaders and the CCC say this target won’t be achievable without devolving further powers and resources to local authorities to help them reduce their carbon footprint.

In a report delivered to the UK government in June, the CCC said the government must: “Support local government to play a full role in the Net Zero transition, including through increased resourcing, guidance, involvement in local area energy plans, statutory reporting on the emissions from their estate and reforming the planning framework to enable delivery of low-carbon and climate-resilient measures.”