Deputy Mayor of Leicester Cllr Rory Palmer sets out how Leicester is on the road to becoming a Low Carbon City.
Adapting to, and tackling climate change is an area where effective policy linkage between national and local government is crucial. As important as international treaties and national legislation are, they are fairly meaningless without effective local action.
To deal with climate change and embed low carbon policy we need to see local government leading the way, bringing together the influence and commitment of partners from all sectors. In Leicester we have recently launched our new Low Carbon City Programme of Action.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby and our Labour administration were elected in May 2011 with a manifesto commitment to make Leicester a low carbon city. Our new plan sets out how we aim to do this. The action plan is built on the importance of partnerships; bringing together academic expertise and innovation in the city with the public sector, large businesses and industry, smaller enterprises and the city’s community and voluntary organisations. We recognise that reducing the city’s carbon footprint requires input and action from all sectors.
Our Low Carbon City Action Plan sets out 80 policy commitments for the next twelve months, ranging from switching on our new district energy scheme to developing new plans to support the green economy and enterprise in Leicester. We will work to increase recycling rates, plant more trees in the city and do more to help householders insulate their homes and use less energy.
Underpinning our action plan are strategic objectives for 2015 including our aim to generate 5 megawatts of electricity from our district energy scheme; work to facilitate SMART grids across the city; and our aim to reduce single occupancy vehicle commuter journeys into the city by 50%.
Collective action with our partners is essential. Our carbon reduction targets are ambitious. Like other cities Leicester is working hard towards the Climate Change Act target of a 34% reduction by 2020, but as a city we have set our own ambitious target of a 50% reduction by 2025. This target is ambitious and our new action plan will help us move towards it.
We are determined to deliver on our pledge to make Leicester a low carbon city. The environmental reasons for this are of course compelling, but we see important social and economic drivers for our low carbon agenda as well. We hope the coalition government will want to equip local authorities, like Leicester and beyond, with the resources and backing needed to deliver ambitious low carbon and climate change adaptation policy.
Rory Palmer is Labour Deputy City Mayor of Leicester and a member of SERA.
He tweets at @Rory_Palmer
For more information on Leicester’s Low Carbon City Action Plan see: http://www.leicester.gov.uk/greenerleicester/