Mayor asks Government to ensure industry does more to tackle climate emergency
The Mayor of Hackney has asked the Government to ensure industry plays a bigger role in tackling the climate emergency.
Giving evidence on behalf of the Local Government Association to the committee of MPs set up to scrutinise and amend the Government’s Environment Bill, he said that, while councils are supportive of their increased role set out in the Bill, industry also needs to play its part in tackling the Climate Emergency.
He said that an increased role for councils must be met by an increase in funding for local government to match any new duties.
According to early modelling by the Local Government Association, it is estimated that one part of the Bill alone, which incorporates new roles for councils on waste and recycling, will cost local authorities at least an additional £700m.
The Mayor reiterated his support for the ‘producer pays’ principle set out in the Bill, which would ensure that producers of waste pay the cost of disposing it.
Also contained in the Bill are measures to establish an Office for Environment Protection, introduce a producer responsibility scheme and introduce a system of 'biodiversity credits' in the planning system. This new feature through planning would build on the Council’s innovative work in setting up a Carbon Fund ─ taxing developments based on their energy efficiency, and using the funds on sustainability projects in the borough.
This is a really important Bill that sets out how the UK should respond to the climate emergency, including by tackling air pollution, reducing waste, increasing recycling and improving biodiversity. However, we need to make sure the Bill has teeth, so industry ─ and government ─ can be compelled to meet this challenge.
In Hackney, we’ve declared a climate emergency, and are taking some of the most robust action in the country in response, including measures to plant tens of thousands of new trees, reclaim our streets from cars for walking and cycling, tackle poor air quality by reducing emissions from cars, reduce single-use plastics, improve recycling rates and promote green energy. This Bill needs to enable all of society to do their bit to tackle global warming.