Local authorities and regional assemblies must set targets for cutting their area's contribution to global warming and ensure that their policies help them achieve this, Friends of the Earth said today.

The environmental campaign group said that the Government must also bring in a law to make it legally responsible for cutting carbon dioxide emissions by three per cent every year. The call comes as the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs, published new figures estimating carbon dioxide emissions from each region in England and local authority area in the UK.

The Government’s trial statistics for 2003 estimated the level of the level of local household, traffic and industrial carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, reallocating emissions from power stations to where the electricity is actually used in people’s homes and businesses. The Government is urging local authorities to do more to cut emissions and is calling for householders to adopt measures that can save energy and money.

Friends of the Earth says

• The Government should introduce a legal framework to ensure that it UK carbon dioxide emissions are cut by three per cent every year. C02 emissions have increased under Labour and the Government’s promise to cut emissions by 20 per cent by 2010, and its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, are now in jeopardy.

• The Government should not rely on individuals to take voluntary action to reduce emissions. The environmental campaign group is urging the Chancellor to take action in next month’s pre-Budget statement to encourage people to take action that reduces carbon dioxide emissions, and discourages them from activities that increase their contribution.

• Regional Assemblies in England and local authorities across the UK must introduce targets for cutting carbon dioxide levels and strategies to achieve this. This must be a key part of Regional Spatial Strategies that are currently being drawn up for each region in England.

• Local Authorities and Regional Assemblies must insist that any new development is carbon neutral.

Friends of the Earth’s climate campaigner, Martyn Williams said; “The UK Government’s climate strategy is failing, and carbon dioxide emissions are rising instead of falling. The Government must get its strategy back on track and introduce a legal framework to ensure that UK carbon dioxide emissions are cut by three per cent every year. “But the Chancellor can start cutting emissions immediately if he introduces incentives in his pre-budget statement which make it easier and cheaper for people to take action, including measures to encourage energy saving in the home and promote more fuel-efficient motoring. “Regional Assemblies and local authorities must wake up to threat of global warming. They should set targets for cutting emissions and ensure that their strategies help them achieve it. This must include ensuring that all new housing developments are carbon neutral.”