Pendle Climate Action Group
It is clear to me that most Councils want to deliver robust, resilient and adaptive Action Plans in response to the Climate Emergency. However, they are struggling to balance the books and meet their existing statutory commitments.
We should remember that the Government has cut the central support grant to Local Authorities by 60% since 2010. As a result Councils will have to increase the Council Tax by up to 5%, the maximum allowed, just to keep local existing services ticking over. So, there is little or no money available to tackle the Climate Emergency, such as appointing a Climate Emergency Officer to ensure that the Council can achieve their carbon reduction targets by 2030.
Surely, this situation can no longer be sustained. We should lobby our MPs, who represent the needs of constituents, to get the Government to restore the full central support grant to Councils.
In addition, Councils are hampered by narrow planning laws under the National Planning Policy Framework, which restrict what local councils can do in tackling the Climate Emergency and what they can include in their Local Plans.
For instance, there should be clear receptive national policy and guidance on renewable energy, such as onshore wind and solar farms, on stopping the pollution of our water sources, ensuring that any new developments comply with requirements to reduce biodiversity loss and improve biodiversity gain as well as giving powers to Local Authorities to enforce a ban on single use plastics and micro-beads.