IEMA releases net-zero guidance for local authorities

26th April 2023

Sustainability body IEMA has today published new guidance to help local authorities (LAs) hit net-zero targets.

Drawing on the expertise of IEMA members, the toolkit is designed to join up the work carried out by climate change and sustainability teams with that of planning teams.

It is hoped that this will prevent new buildings and infrastructure having to be redesigned in the future, and contributing to future workloads of climate officers.

The guidance demonstrates where climate action plans and local plans are linked in ambition, thus facilitating conversations between officers, councillors and the public while plans are being drafted and consulted upon.

Since it does not provide policy-specific advice, it can be used by all nations in the UK, and should be adaptable to national frameworks and regulations outside the country.

This comes after the Committee on Climate Change found that around a third of the UK’s emissions are dependent on sectors that are directly shaped or influenced by local authorities.

Sarah Mukherjee MBE, CEO at IEMA said “I’m absolutely delighted to launch our local authority guidance today. We urgently need to take immediate action to tackle the climate crisis and help our LAs deliver on ambitious net-zero targets with this toolkit.”

Climate officers may also be failing to spot opportunities to decarbonise their areas in collaboration with planning opportunities, which the new toolkit aim to redress.

Currently, climate action plans tend to focus on reducing or removing existing emissions, while multiple building owners make it difficult to deliver energy efficient retrofit projects.

Meanwhile, highways land is given over to carbon and pollution-intensive private cars, making it physically and culturally difficult to carve space back out for zero-carbon cyclists and pedestrians – and new developments tend to perpetuate these problems.

While any development will cause emissions growth, the new guidance highlights opportunities to mitigate this through taking climate change and energy use into greater consideration during the planning process.

Mukherjee added: “It’s imperative that individuals, organisations and businesses work together in order to try and combat global heating and to deliver on the UK’s plans for net zero.“

IEMA's policy and engagement lead for climate change, Chloë Fiddy, has written a blog explaining the toolkit in more detail.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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