The environment, including climate change, is now firmly part of local government priorities throughout England. Cutting CO2 emissions, having cleaner streets, improving household waste reuse, recycling and composting, preparing communities to adapt to the inevitable consequence of climate change, tackling fuel poverty, and increasing biodiversity are some of the main environmental issues that England's local areas will tackle over the next three years. Local government has risen to the challenge of tackling climate change and its impacts with commitments in 98% of local areas. This includes reducing CO2 emissions in communities in 67% of agreements, putting it among the top five indicators in England, whereas cleaning our streets is a priority for 48% and features among London's top 20. Meanwhile, 83% of areas have pledged improvements on managing municipal waste with 45% of areas committed to increasing the reuse, recycling and composting of household waste. A quarter of areas committed to reducing the amount of waste that is not reused, recycled or composted from households. These local priorities � known as Local Area Agreements (LAAs) � for every local area in England have now been agreed with central government. This means that local authorities must devote resources, time and effort to achieving the things they believe will make people's lives better. Councils will be awarded extra money based on their performance against these priorities. Defra is supporting delivery of the climate change indicators in a number of ways. This includes a �4m best practice programme on climate change launched in early March 2008. Additionally, Defra funds bodies such as the Carbon Trust, the Energy Savings Trust and the UK Climate Impacts Programme who will continue to work closely with local authorities over coming years to encourage and shape action to reduce emissions and improve climate resilience. Progress will be tracked by independent auditors and results published, so any need for improvement can be identified quickly and local authorities and service providers be held to account by local people.


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