At last week’s Spring Conference, Levelling Up Locally, ADEPT launched its new Climate Change and Green Growth Policy Position. Hannah Bartram provides an overview.
When we looked at refreshing ADEPT’s Climate Change Policy Position, we realised that it was inseparable from enabling green growth, so the new paper is reflection of how our thinking has developed to bring both together.
The work of the Blueprint Coalition of which ADEPT is a partner, is focused on the vital leadership, convening and delivery role of local authorities, and this is very much the central tenet of our policy position. We will not meet our national net zero targets without fully enabling local councils.
So, what does that mean aside from granting essential funding and resources? It means that we need more from government. We must have policy coherence – for example, addressing climate change, enabling green growth and achieving real levelling up across the country are not separate. Disappointingly, the government’s Levelling Up Strategy had little mention of climate change, but how are we to achieve one without the other?
Planning reform needs to be similarly interwoven with strategies for net zero and adaptation, levelling up, biodiversity and health and wellbeing. Levelling up is about place and people, and health outcomes are intrinsically part of that. Access to green spaces, particularly in our urban areas, needs to be an integral part of planning – enabling green growth, carbon sequestration and nature recovery bring all of these together in our local areas.
Badly needed investment in the adoption of new technologies, multimodal transport, the circular economy and retrofitting housing, for example, require a parallel investment in new skills and jobs, as does transitioning from an economy based on fossil fuel to one that is fit for the future. Our communities as well as our infrastructure must be both resilient and sustainable and we need to be able to design and deliver services accordingly.
Our climate is already changing – the evidence for that is overwhelming – and accepted by around 80% of the UK population who think that we are facing a global emergency. As a result, there is no question that we have to address adaptation. The impacts of the climate emergency are already being felt and there is much we can do around flooding and coastal erosion as well as using nature recovery strategies to increase habitat and make our places more resilient to climate change.
Achieving net zero is not only about policy. More than half of the emission reductions we need to reach net zero rely on households and businesses adopting low-carbon solutions. Local authorities must be enabled to facilitate that behavioural change through how we design our places and where we install new infrastructure.
Encouraging change means we need to ensure that all members of our community can take part and not be adversely impacted. This is a difficult path to tread, but one where listening to and working with our communities can reap dividends.
As the ‘voice of place’, ADEPT continues to work with government, corporate partners, academia and environmental organisations to gain support and resource for local authorities as the key drivers of climate change action in our local areas. We were pleased to be invited to sit on the Local Net Zero Forum, to be chaired by a director general of BEIS.
We were also delighted to receive confirmation from the Department for Transport that our Live Labs 2 programme to decarbonise highways infrastructure will go ahead. Driving innovation and sharing best practice is what local authorities do.
Climate resilience at the local level is a goal we all share and local authorities across the country are leading on climate action, supporting their communities and working with local partners.
The ADEPT Climate Change and Green Growth Policy Position can be found here.
 Ipsos and Health Foundation Climate Change and Health Survey (2021)
 Climate Change Committee Local Authorities and the Sixth Carbon Budget (2020)