Those with eagle eyes for new ideas to tackle climate change may have noticed a tentative proposal from CLG for local carbon budgets. At the time nobody really knew what that would look like or how it would work. Today, John Denham MP gave us a few more hints – presenting local carbon budgets as a new deal on climate change between local and central government. For those local authorities that want to set ambition plans for their local area on climate change, this is a chance to pilot the idea and have a conversation with government about how to get it done effectively.
We already have national carbon budgets to help us get to the ambitious target of 80% reduction in carbon emission by 2050. A local carbon budget would take the same principle and give local authorities the responsibility for the long term planning and management of reducing carbon emissions.
But while we may be clearer about the process – akin to a local area agreement negotiation in many ways – the detail is yet to come. In particular on what central government are going to bring to the table. Their side of the deal needs to set out clear strategic changes that will make local government’s ability to influence in their local area simpler.
And if they need a place to start, why not create a single pot of funding for climate change projects rather than the dauntingly long list of acronyms that makes up the current funding model. Then we can start talking about better data quality, developing expertise and of course removing bureaucracy.