Local government action
- information and culture
- space heating
- local food
- renewable energy generation.
Information and cultureCouncils
- should publicise that climate change is an emergency, and should give clear information to residents that fossil fuel use in developed countries must be phased out urgently to meet international commitments
- should act urgently in all areas where they have powers
- should not overclaim the benefits of measures that can contribute little to the climate emergency such as tree-planting and electric charging points.
Tyndall Climate Centre reports for UK local authoritiesIn the UK, councils should base their actions on the CO2 budget reports from the Tyndall Climate Centre (one for each local authority) at https://carbonbudget.manchester.ac.uk/reports/.
When published in 2019, these showed that cuts in emissions of typically 13% per year were needed in order to comply with the UK's Paris Agreement commitments. With the lack of action so far, cut of at least 20% per year are now needed.
TransportCO2 emissions from transport is the sector where local authority decisions have the greatest impact.
Make walking and cycling safe
- plan and prioritise around the needs of pedestrians and cyclists e.g. ask where are the worst barriers to walking and cycling and tackle those first - for example, all children should be able to walk safely to school
- publicise the laws that protect pedestrians and cyclist e.g. those (a) giving priority to pedestrians crossing at T junctions, (b) banning pavement parking, (c) banning close overtaking of cyclists
- implement 20mph speed limits wherever there are significant numbers or walking or cycling journeys (including on A roads)
- more pedestrian crossings
- timings at pedestrian crossings should be favourable to pedestrians
- safer junctions for pedestrians including build-outs rather than fast large-radius turns
- protected cycle lanes
- narrow country lanes that are impassable for pedestrians because of high hedges, narrow verges and the speed of traffic can be made safe by constructing new paths and cycle tracks on the field side of the hedge (and adding a new hedge or fence beyond that)
- cancel any new road building that is primarily for motor vehicles
- reduce parking provision
- block rat-runs for motor vehicles, but keep as a pedestrian and cycling throughway - i.e. filtered permeability
- make streets one-way for motor vehicles (but still two-way for bicycles)
- use traffic calming e.g. chicanes and bottleneck to reduce two lanes to a single lane for motor vehicles (without impeding cycling).
- facilitate where possible
- communicate the reality that leisure flying is not affordable within the residual CO2 budgets of high emissions countries - see document 22.
New developments (of shops, housing, etc)
- The need to travel should be reduced.
- New developments should not increase car use.
- The trend to out-of-town shopping centres should be reversed.
Space heatingLocal authorities should give a lead in reducing fossil fuel heating of buildings.
- lower temperature settings in council offices
- better insulation of council buildings
- publicise best practice examples of private ownership improvements such as Passiv haus technology - see document 88.
Local foodLocal authorities should wherever possible facilitate the local production and distribution of food.
- support and increase allotment sites
- investigate measures that would support shops selling locally grown produce
- support farmers' markets.
Renewable energy generation
- install solar panels on council buildings
- publicise best practice examples from private ownership
First published: 2008
Last updated: 22 Aug 2023