Only half of councils believe they’ll meet net zero targets, study shows

Councillors aren’t confident their authorities will meet self-imposed net zero targets, a study by energy company E.ON and the Local Government Chronicle has found.

Chief executives and director-level figures in local authorities completed a survey to convey their attitude towards achieving net zero targets and green ambitions.

Fewer than half, 47%, agreed that they were confident their council was on track to meet net zero targets, despite 87% saying their council had a deadline they had to reach.

64% of respondents said their target date was set for 2030, while only 7% had set a shorter timeframe and 12% chose a later date of 2050.

man in black jacket sitting on red chair

Michael Lewis, Chief Executive of E.ON UK, said: ‘Councils are responsible for decisions that can drive decarbonisation across whole communities, which puts them at the sharp end of achieving net zero by 2050. It’s great to see an ambition to create a greener future but there will be concern confidence is fairly low in whether our local authorities can achieve these ambitions.

‘Our survey shows what’s lacking are the next steps in exactly how we get to a low carbon society. That starts with improving the energy efficiency of existing homes, swapping gas boilers for heat pumps, developing a greater role for district heating schemes in urban areas, and inspiring people to switch from petrol and diesel to electric vehicles.

‘For future developments these technologies should all come as standard, mandated through the planning process, so all new homes are built to a net zero standard – an approach advocated by more than nine in ten of our survey panel.’

The survey also found that 92% agreed all new-builds should be built to a net zero standard and three in five said heat pumps were crucial solving the climate crisis and fuel poverty.

The majority thought better energy efficiency was the most important measure in progressing to net zero, while other measures rated highly included EV infrastructure, solar panels, heat pumps and district heating.

Photo by Valery Tenevoy


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Colin Henshaw
Colin Henshaw
2 years ago

If local authorities are serious about getting to zero emissions then they should stop wasting energy.

One way of achieving this is to substantially
cut back on street lighting. Our communities are over-lit at night. This can be rectified by only using lighting when necessary. This can be achieved by 11p.m. till dawn street lighting curfews in residential and suburban areas, motion operated street lighting, a ban on street lighting in rural areas, and a ban on vanity lighting that does not serve any useful purpose. By the latter I am referring to illuminated buildings and monuments, urban regeneration follies, and crass displays of public “art.” Buildings not being used at night should have their lighting switched off.

If these recommendations are adopted, then we shall see substantial reductions in energy consumption, plus environmental benefits and improved human health. There will be no loss of amenity if implemented wisely. Darkness at night is normal, and we should respect it, and we should get over this urban myth promulgated by the lighting industry and municipal lighting departments that increased lighting reduces crime.

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