Sustainability West Midlands
Project Team: Anna Bright, Dr Beck Collins and Nathaniel Weaver
The East of England Regional Climate Change Forum (RCCF) brings together representatives from 8 climate change partnerships across the region, together representing over 50 local authorities. The Forum is run by the East of England Local Government Association (EELGA), who support it to achieve climate action targets. For this project, EELGA asked for an analysis of each partnership’s climate change progress, and an explanation of the barriers to delivery of climate change action across the region.
- To understand the progress, strengths, areas of improvement and barriers to delivery across the different climate change partnerships.
- To understand how far the LGA’s climate change support is used, and how EELGA and the RCCF can better progress climate action. This was done through a document review of the partnerships’ climate plans, 15 interviews with lead officers and politicians and a baseline questionnaire.
- The baseline analysis found evidence of progress against all the priority areas. Many partnerships had made good progress in sustainable energy, such as a district heating system in Cambridgeshire, and bulk solar procurement projects (Solar Together) across many authorities.
- Progress against retrofit and sustainable housing were less well advanced, although there were good examples of individual projects (such as Central Bedfordshire’s Passivhaus Care Home).
- All climate change partnerships were struggling to progress climate change adaptation projects, although again, there were ambitious visions by some partnerships (such as that for the South Essex Estuary Park). Interviews further demonstrated that the LGA climate change support was well understood and well used, although there was scope for improvement.
- The research also found challenges and barriers including:
- standardisation of measuring and monitoring of carbon emissions;
- recruiting people with the necessary skills;
- assignment of roles and responsibilities;
- funding for climate change, including time consuming competitive tender processes which are often not responsive to local circumstances;
- local authorities do not have a legal responsibility to cut emissions across their geographies, nor the legal powers to do so.