Nigel Riglar, the 1st Vice President of The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) and Chair of the Local Adaptation Advisory Panel (LAAP), discusses climate change and how ADEPT can drive transformation in our communities. Climate change has been dominating the headlines and there has been a palpable shift in public concern over the environment. This is backed up by the recent reports published by the United Nations (UN), the UK’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC), and the declaration of a ‘climate emergency’ by many local authorities and by the UK Parliament. Although the planet will continue to exist, human life is set to undergo global climatic disruption at unimaginable levels. Radical changes are needed to address climate change and this means we are facing two unprecedented challenges: we must dramatically reduce our carbon emission and we also need to prepare for unavoidable environmental impacts by building climate resilience into our systems and services. These challenges can only be tackled by taking urgent, radical action and this can only happen with great leadership of people and place. Our local authority members directly emit a small percentage of the UK’s carbon emissions – for example, South Gloucestershire Council emitted around 1% of direct emissions for their area in 2016 – but local authorities influence around 40% of emissions through their roles as planning, transport and waste authorities, as well as a major purchaser and commissioner of goods and services. This power to influence makes our members uniquely placed to put the climate crisis at the heart of our place-shaping work, bringing people together and harnessing this desire for action, ensuring that everyone works together at all levels. To support this work, ADEPT recently published two documents on the environment. The first is ADEPT’s position on climate change, cementing it as one of ADEPT’s three strategic priorities. One of the key elements is the request for net zero targets to be applied to all sectors of the economy, and for all new homes and commercial buildings to be net carbon zero by 2025. The Good Practice Guide is an operational document that aims to boost climate change resilience and revolutionise the way local authorities manage and plan for climate change risk. ‘Preparing for a Changing Climate: Good Practice Guidance for Local Government’ prompts informed discussion, so local authorities can adapt to climate change.
Environment Journal 25th July 2019 read more »