Local Authority Climate Emergencies – EMAQ+ Seminars

Local Authority Climate Emergencies – EMAQ+ Seminars
25 September 2019

Over 220 UK Local Authorities (LAs) have declared a climate emergency and a large number of those are making a pledge to reach carbon neutrality at a faster rate than the UK Government. To meet this challenge, many LAs have been seeking support and advice on developing a roadmap to attain this goal. To assist in this Ricardo offers support and guidance from our climate change experts through our EMAQ+ training seminars.  EMAQ+ seminars are aimed at officers within Local Government and cover issues surrounding air quality, contaminated land & emission monitoring and other environmental topics. For more information see http://emaq.ricardo-aea.com/  

We designed the Climate Emergencies seminar to support LAs who have either declared or are considering declaring a climate emergency and need some help in getting started. Our one day seminars – held in  London and  Birmingham – looked at what declaring a climate emergency means, including benefits and risks, how to get started on tracking progress in reducing emissions and how to develop robust and effective plans for delivering action.

For part of the day we focused on the abundance of free, good quality data available to Local Authorities to quantify their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The BEIS Local Authority and Regional CO2 Emissions are one such dataset. They form part of the UK National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, compiled each year by Ricardo on behalf of BEIS and Defra. We demonstrated to LAs how to use this information and some of the underlying datasets to drill down into their data and reveal which sources and sectors need the most attention, as well as showing recent trends. A couple of examples of things LAs can look for in this way are:

  • Sources (for example emissions on A-roads) where emissions are decreasing more slowly (or not at all), LAs can use this information to understand what their problem areas are.
  • Energy efficiency information within BEIS electricity consumption datasets can enable LAs to target specific parts of the borough for domestic retrofitting.

We had excellent participation from all those present at the two seminar days. We discussed the levels of influence that LAs can have over emissions in their area. For some things they may have a direct impact on emissions through their actions, in other areas they may need to influence behaviour through enabling frameworks such as planning, procurement and business rates policies. We used this information to build up a method of prioritising emissions reductions measures in order to begin to build a climate change action plan.

The feedback we have received on these seminars has been hugely encouraging and we’re hoping that these sessions have gone some way to helping those LAs at the beginning of their climate emergency journey. We will be holding another seminar in Leeds on the 16th October and are also looking into adding some seminars focused more on specific actions in different sectors. If you would like to take part in one of these sessions or have any suggestions for further training required to help respond to this emergency then please do get in touch.