British people trust local councils more than the government when it comes to taking action on climate change, a new survey has revealed.
The Local Government Association (LGA) poll found that 40 per cent of residents surveyed trusted their local council to act on climate change, compared to just 28 per cent who trusted the government itself.
Only 15 per cent of respondents trusted world leaders.
Built environment day at COP26
These findings have been released today to coincide with COP26, which is hosting a day of events dedicated to cities, regions and the built environment.
The built environment and construction sectors currently account for 38 per cent of global carbon emissions, and today will see world leaders meeting to discuss city planning and green design.
“Today is an important day at COP26, as attention turns to local leaders who are on the frontline in the fight against climate change,” says Councillor James Jamieson, LGA Chairman.
“As leaders of local communities, it will be local governments in our cities, towns and rural areas across the world who will be driving the collective action required to address the climate emergency.”
The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, wants the government to use the summit to enhance the role of local councils, giving them more power to implement green policies.
Policies they would like more control over include: decarbonising building stock, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport and permission to deliver clean energy projects.
“As it stands, the draft COP26 agreement text does not include reference to the essential role of local government around the world in responding to climate change. This needs to change.
“The Prime Minister rightly said we are at ‘one minute to midnight’ and time is fast running out,” continues Jamieson.
Green plans for local councils
The report, entitled Delivering local net zero, includes plans to retrofit over 1,000 homes a day with low-carbon efficiency measures by 2030, and install 2.2 million more heat pumps in fuel-poor homes, local authority homes and new council houses by 2030.
The report claims that this work will save the NHS £1.9 billion (€2.2 billion) a year, as UK citizens will be living in warmer and more comfortable homes.
“This is why it is vital the government acts fast and uses COP26 to give councils the powers and resources to deliver the green infrastructure projects that will make a difference in local communities and help achieve net zero by 2050, if not sooner,” says Jamieson.
The LGA also runs a Climate Change Sector Support Programme to help local councils in England and Wales reach their carbon reduction goals.
“Councils are rooted in their places where people live their lives and businesses do their business, and know their communities better than anyone else. This is why they are best-placed to lead the way towards a net zero future.”