Over a third of English councils support plans that could increase carbon emissions, reveals survey

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3rd September 2021 11:12 - Local Government

Over a third of English councils support plans that could increase carbon emissions: A recent survey by the BBC has revealed that around a third of English councils (33%) have supported plans that could potentially increase carbon emissions; including upgrading airports, building new roads and constructing underground tunnels.
Despite many councils advocating plans that could increase the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, nearly nine in 10 have declared a ‘climate emergency’. Many of the most rural counties, however, believe there is there is no such a climate emergency; which may help to explain a more relaxed approach by certain councils.
Many people believe the government’s plans to cut all greenhouse gases to almost zero, does not align with local council’s plans to develop. When asked why the progression to net-zero emissions has been slow, two thirds of English councils stated the pandemic was a main reason. Furthermore, the Isle of Wight council has expressed their concern that the pandemic might delay their aim of being net-zero in 2030 by 10 years.
Another reason given for the slow progress towards net-zero emissions is the under-funding from the government. The National Audit Office has recently found that the government set aside £1.2billion to be put towards tackling the climate change issue; however, the competitive nature of these grants makes long term planning more difficult.
Helen Hayden, councillor for infrastructure and climate for Leeds city council, said: “It would seem like an inconsistency. So, we do have to keep it in context and not let it distract us from doing all those things that will actually tackle the bigger issues that are in our city.”

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