Climate change co-ordination is needed, say MPs

31 Jul 08
Action taken by local, regional and devolved administrations on climate change is encouraging, but efforts are hampered by contradictions in cross-government policy, MPs have said.

01 August 2008

Action taken by local, regional and devolved administrations on climate change is encouraging, but efforts are hampered by contradictions in cross-government policy, MPs have said.

The Commons environmental audit select committee said there were tensions over policy areas such as regional airport expansion and the need to limit emissions from aviation, and how targets on new homes were compatible with efforts to lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Committee chair Tim Yeo said: 'A step-change in the level of activity is needed at all levels and the government has to put in place a number of changes in the policy framework and performance management of local government that should help bring this about.'

The committee report, Climate change, and local, regional and devolved government, published on July 28, said central government had a duty to co-ordinate the different spheres of government.

Local authority decision-making should be geared to reducing emissions, in areas from procurement to housing. Building skills and knowledge were vital, the report said.

The MPs also called on ministers to: encourage and develop the use of 'carbon impact assessments'; look at how the government's economic development and regeneration sub-national review addresses sustainable development; and prioritise adaptation plans.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Mike Birkin said many local councils were still failing to act. 'There must be a clear duty on councils to reduce emissions in their areas – with incentives and rewards to encourage them to act.'

He said the government should stop sending contradictory signals by giving the go-ahead to 'climate-wrecking' developments on airport and motorway expansions.

PFaug2008

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