Integrating climate change into the community strategy and LSP
Climate change is now recognised as one of the greatest threats of the 21 st century and is the key driver for a raft of international, European and national policy aimed at reducing carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency. Role of the LSP and community strategies in addressing climate change The English guidance on community strategies states that councils should ‘take account of the way in which national and global concerns, such as the mitigation of climate change, can be addressed through local action’. Climate change is perhaps better suited than almost any other issue to be taken forward through community strategies. There are several reasons for this: Climate change is a complex and cross-cutting issue requiring an integrated and coordinated response While local authorities can and should take the lead through working to reduce their own climate change impacts, substantial reductions in greenhouse gases can only be achieved by concerted action across the whole community. Climate change represents a new way of looking at issues and of connecting the agendas of different organisations. For example, improvement in the housing stock will result in significant economic and health benefits as well as emissions savings. The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform have also just published an Energy Measures Report to comply with the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006 which states that community strategies should: Link climate change and fuel poverty actions to existing community strategy priorities. Ensure climate change and fuel poverty objectives are included in strategy revisions. And local partnerships should: Include action within the work of existing partnership groups. Assess whether local partners have the resources needed to deliver on climate change and fuel poverty. What have we done so far? In a report by DEFRA*, which provides estimates of total CO2 emissions by local authority area, Carlisle is 86th out of 354 district in England for carbon dioxide emissions per resident – in the worst 25%. Carlisle ranked 66th for industrial and commercial emissions per capita, 172nd for domestic emissions, and 98th for road transport emissions. Clearly given that Carlisle’s significant employers are in food, processing, rubber and that many of the city’s small medium enterprises are in engineering and metal good industries, this would explain why Carlisle is ranked low for industrial and commercial emissions. This data was used to form a target under the cross-cutting priorities section of the 2007 Carlisle Community Plan. The target states that Carlisle is to be in the lowest quartile of local authorities for CO2 emissions per capita. The lead group is the LSP Executive and lead partner – Carlisle City Council and Environment Agency as exemplars. What do we do now? While there is guidance on the integration of climate change into community strategies, there is no ‘correct’ approach and different LSPs have tackled this challenge in a variety of
ways. The Improvement and Development Agency has published some guidance on this subject and suggests the following during the development and revision of community strategies: Having a sustainable development/climate change champion on the board of the LSP. That the partnership as a whole is made aware of the importance of climate change and its relevance to the community strategy. This could be achieved through organising a climate change workshop for LSP members. Raising awareness among the local community about the issue of climate change and identifying initiatives already underway. Conducting a sustainability appraisal of the community strategy that identifies climate change or energy issues as a priority or makes links with other key themes that have been identified.
Other climate change initiatives in progress the LSP could engage with A representative task group from the Cumbria Strategic Partnership (CSP) membership has been set up to develop a climate change strategy and action plan for adoption and implementation by CSP member organisations. The action plan will identify Cumbrian impacts of climate change and provide guidance on mitigation and adaptation in relation to infrastructure, assets and delivery of key services. The action plan will respond to national policy and the recently launched North West Regional Climate Change Action Plan. It will be one of a group of strategic documents supporting ‘Sustainable Cumbria’, the Cumbria Community Strategy. A draft action plan will be presented to the CSP Executive Board on the 26 th November CSP consultation, that will last for 12 weeks. It is suggested that the Carlisle LSP comment on the plan within this period. The regional development agency has allocated funding over three years to deliver this sub-regional plan. A funding bid has been formulated on behalf of the Cumbria Climate Change group to establish a Climate Change Officer post in Cumbria. The post holder would initiate a range of projects including mapping current activity, developing and launching an awareness campaign, working with the public and private sector on carbon reduction and helping organisations produce adaptation programmes. The post holder would also investigate funding opportunities for employing a Sustainable Energy Technologies Manager. Along with over 200 other local authorities, Carlisle City Council has signed the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change. This is a voluntary statement that commits Carlisle City Council not only to take action to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions but to develop plans with partners and local communities to progressively address the causes and impacts of climate change. Carlisle City Council is currently liasing with the Energy Savings Trust to be one of small number of local authorities to engage with a 7-9 month project. The project will guide the City Council through a structured process to develop a Carbon Action Plan that will enable more sustainable use of energy and have wider community benefits. The Carlisle LSP could engage with this project as it develops.
Rachel Osborn – Environmental Performance Manager – 3 October 2007