Three major English cities are set to develop tailored action plans to slash their CO2 emissions under a new scheme, Minister for Climate Change Joan Ruddock announced today.

Under the Low Carbon Cities Programme, the Carbon Trust and the Energy Saving Trust will work with Bristol, Leeds and Manchester to develop individual city-wide action plans to achieve low carbon economies which are both prosperous and sustainable.

New measures and initiatives will be introduced and could include renewable energy and trigeneration (creating power, heat and cooling from a single source) along with energy saving measures such as insulation and promoting cycling to work.

Key public service bodies, businesses and community leaders in each of the cities will contribute to the strategy and its implementation. The £250,000 of funding from Defra will also benefit the other members of the Core Cities Group - Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield - by producing audits of current emissions and identifying cost effective carbon saving opportunities.

The programme will establish a city-wide CO2 baseline, show emission totals and provide a detailed breakdown of where emissions come from. The data gathered will allow cities to forecast how changes to certain areas will most effectively cut emissions.

Leaders of the eight Core Cities, Communities and Local Government Secretary Hazel Blears and Joan Ruddock also today signed a pledge that identifies opportunities to reduce emissions and outlines specific actions that Government and Core Cities will undertake. The Minister also announced a new programme from the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy which is working with Shell and RWE npower, to assist UK cities in taking practical measures to tackle climate change. This project is focused on the UK's major cities to develop a network of good practice in deploying technology and exploring emerging sustainable energy opportunities. The Council will deliver a targeted regional programme in key UK cities to stimulate high level support for action on sustainable energy and build networks with the energy sector. The Council will also deliver a series of events to investigate how policy can be improved to enable the growth of new low-carbon technologies.

Ms Ruddock said: "Our cities were once at the forefront of the industrial revolution. Now they have the opportunity to lead the way again and be the driving force behind our push to a low carbon economy. "Creating targeted action plans will help them achieve this by setting a clear path for cutting emissions.

"The Low Carbon Cities Programme will illustrate that meeting the challenge of climate change and building prosperity in our cities can and should go hand in hand."

Communities and Local Government Secretary Hazel Blears said: "Climate change is an issue which impacts on everyone, whether you live in the country or in an urban area, as this summer's floods showed.

"Everyone must play their part in helping to reduce their impact on the environment and cities have a vital role to play in tackling climate change issues. "By working to reduce their carbon emissions, through improvements such as renewable energy, public transport, energy efficiency and waste and water management, cities can make a real difference. "My Department has been working closely with the Core Cities and DEFRA on tackling climate change over the last year and signing the joint statement demonstrates our ongoing commitment to this work."

Tom Delay, Chief Executive, the Carbon Trust said: "We are excited to be involved in this ambitious programme of support for the core cities which builds on the Government's Act on CO2 campaign and pleased that Defra recognises the benefits to be gained from collaboration across public sector bodies.

"We currently work with a third of all local authorities helping them to cut carbon, and have collaborated with all the key public sector bodies within Bristol, Leeds and Manchester. "This new programme is the next crucial step in encouraging collaboration and harnessing good practice to ensure coherent city wide strategies"

Eddie Hyams, Chairman of the Energy Saving Trust, said: "Our research tells us that inspiring citizens as members of their local community will give them more power to act.

"In communities, people can better believe in the impact of their actions, they are big fish in a small pond, not powerless members of the whole world.

"The public discussion on climate change has evolved at an unprecedented rate over the past year. We need to build on this momentum and make it easier for people to adopt low carbon lifestyles.

"This initiative will provide us with insight into how we can work with cities all over the UK. This will be central to our long-term thinking. Only then can we bring about real change."


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