The report calls for free public transport fares, more funding for energy efficiency and tax reductions for sourcing food locally
A cross-party group of MPs and Lords have today released a landmark report on the steps necessary to reach the UK’s climate targets. The report – published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on a Green New Deal – has made a series of major recommendations on how the climate crisis can be addressed at the local level.
The report’s authors argue that powering up local communities with cleaner community energy, local food supplies and strengthened public transport networks is essential if the UK is to hit its 2030 climate targets.
Among the specific recommendations made by the report is a call for the government target of 68% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 to be made legally binding on all public sector organisations. This would apply to all their spending, programmes and projects.
The report has also called for an end to tax allowances for the use of vehicles powered by fossil fuels, public transport systems to introduce free or low cost fares, and the creation of a new Local Food Investment Fund to provide support to localised agriculture and food infrastructure.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, who co-chairs the Green New Deal APPG said: “We know that every home can be its own power station. But now we need national Government to power up communities with the finance, resources and regulatory frameworks to help them scale up and thrive. If we’re going to meet our immediate climate targets and secure a liveable future – with warm and comfortable homes, renewable and affordable local energy, healthy and low-carbon food, and cheap and clean transport – we urgently need to put Green New Deal policies into practice, with local people and communities at the forefront.”
Elsewhere, the report calls for the development of more localised energy communities, by allowing community renewables generation schemes to sell directly to local people, energy efficiency funding to be restored to at least 2012 levels, landlords to be forced to pay mortgage penalties if they let energy inefficient homes and giving business rates reductions to food outlets if 50% of their produce is grown within 50 miles.
The report marks the culmination of the APPG’s ‘Local Edge’ inquiry, which held evidence sessions to explore best practice solutions at a local level to reduce carbon emissions and to identify regulatory changes needed in order to enable local initiatives to reach their potential.
Labour MP Clive Lewis – who co-chairs the APPG with Lucas – said: “The greenest shoots of the economic transition demanded by the climate emergency are found in the transformatory and locally-led initiatives we see up and down the UK. This local leadership should be taken as a national cause for hope, offering a roadmap for how to implement a Green New Deal and meet 2030 climate targets in a way that empowers local communities and embraces a diversity of approaches. Central Government needs to step up and let local people lead, by equitably distributing resources and decentralising decision-making power.”
The Green New Deal APPG has seven vice chairs from across the political spectrum – Tory peer Lord Randall, Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville-Roberts, Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse, SDLP MP Claire Hanna, and Labour MPs Debbie Abrahams, Zarah Sultana and Nadia Whittome. Alliance Party MP Stephen Farry is the group’s treasurer.
Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward
Header image credit: Kinversam – Creative Commons