Funding ‘barrier to tackling climate change’

Eight in 10 councils surveyed by the LGA have been affected by a climate-related incident in the past five years, such as flooding.

The LGA’s Climate Change Survey 2020 assessed what actions councils have already taken to mitigate and/or adapt to climate change, and asked what policy changes would enable them to do this more effectively in the future.

The survey found that nine out of 10 councils have declared a climate emergency and around 80 per cent had set an official target to become carbon neutral, with many working hard to develop policy and action to tackle climate change. 

But 96 per cent highlighted that funding was a barrier to tackling climate change, 93 per cent said legislation or regulation were holding them back, and 88 per cent identified lack of workforce capacity as a challenge.

Cllr David Renard, LGA Environment Spokesperson, said: “Councils recognise the urgent need to tackle climate change and are making active changes to benefit the environment. However, national climate change targets are unlikely to be met unless councils are given long-term funding, devolved powers and easier access to complex government funding pots.

“Now is a crucial time for local authorities to be able to act and work hard to tackle climate change. Drawing up and implementing new policy, hiring and training specialist staff, and communicating this messaging to residents all come at a cost, at a time when council finances are already stretched. 

“We want to work with the Government and business to establish a national fiscal and policy framework for addressing the climate emergency, supported with long-term funding.”

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