Local authorities need more support to tackle the climate crisis, according to a new report published by UK100, a network of local government leaders.
The Powershift Report, which contains interviews with local authorities employees, experts and stakeholders, found that local authorities are key to bringing the UK closer to net-zero emissions.
However, the report found that local authorities need more powers and resources, greater clarity over their roles and further investment in skills and jobs to enable them to take the next step.
The report claims that many local councils are already under-resourced and over-worked and for smaller authorities, in particular, just managing to fulfil their duties takes all their resources.
A poll conducted by UK100 as part of the report also revealed that most people trust local authorities when it comes to climate-related issues, with 40% agreeing they are the best placed to take action.
However, according to the report, currently, ambition and willingness aren’t matched by capacity with barriers in place preventing action being taken.
UK100 Director Polly Billington said: ‘Our members in UK100 know their communities – and the whole country – cannot get to Net Zero without them. Many of the decisions required to get there will be made by local councils, so what they do matters.
‘By codifying this understanding in high definition, our Powershift report, the most comprehensive examination of the powers available to local authorities ever undertaken, makes it undeniable that the push to Net Zero is simply not possible without local authorities placed at the heart of it.
‘And the fact that two in five people believe their local authority is best placed to help initiate the change we urgently need shows just how much public support there is for a locally-led transition.
‘We urge the government to recognise that we need to change the existing rules that slow down climate action at the local level. They need to be reformed with the necessary urgency, giving local authorities the powers and resources to put the country on the path to meeting its climate targets by 2050. Our members stand ready and waiting to engage.’
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