As COP26 negotiations in Glasgow ended, some promising commitments were made to tackle the climate emergency – so why is our government already going backwards?
Even before COP26 started, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget slashed the duty on domestic flights, and last month ministers made yet another U-turn on commitments to ‘level-up the North’ through a comprehensive rail network, which would have been a great step forward for low carbon public transport.
No wonder the public don’t think that Boris Johnson can be trusted.
To fight climate change, we need meaningful empowerment of local government and funding to accompany it.
As leaders of our towns and cities, Labour councillors are leading the way in taking bold action towards a net zero future. We know our communities best and find innovative solutions that are tailored to our local areas.
Councils are also most trusted to tackle climate change. Recent polling by the LGA has found that 40 per cent of residents trusted their councils most to address the climate emergency.
In local government, we are the driving force behind green investment and can ensure local communities are consulted on plans to move toward a greener future.
Local ambition is way ahead of national government. Around 300 councils have declared a climate emergency, with plans to go faster and further than the Government’s current agenda.
Councils should collaborate and share best practice in order to take inspiration from one another and lead citizens along the difficult path to net zero. The UK100 and LGA Labour Climate Emergency websites showcase examples of how determined local authorities are to tackle climate change.
Ultimately though, local authorities represent just one cog in a global wheel: councils need funding from national government to implement the green infrastructure we need to tackle climate change.
Local government is on the frontline and ready to deliver the policies needed – it’s finally time for national government to catch us up, delivering the resources we need to turn our aspirations on climate change into action.