Opportunities for Councillors around climate change
Hope for the Future met with former Green Councillor (2004-2015) for Central Ward in Sheffield, Jillian Creasey, who told us:
Councillors must be aware of so many issues that making climate change 'accessible' to your councillor is vital. By focusing on a specific local issue your councillor can provide a stronger case. Below are some examples of how local councils are achieving this:
Action to cut carbon and increase resilience can save councils thousands of pounds on their energy bills while also avoiding millions of pounds of future costs that will be incurred if no adaptive actions are taken.
Further economic benefits arise from helping the unemployed or those on low incomes to heat their homes affordably, with fuel poverty costing the NHS approximately £1.4 billion a year. For example, Leeds City Region undertook a ‘Stern’ review for the region in 2012, showing that the region’s energy bill was £5.4bn with huge scope for savings through commercially viable energy action.
There are major opportunities for councils to make improvements to the local housing stock, as well as setting the framework on local planning. For example, in Kirklees, the council is working to ensure all residents can afford to heat their homes. More than 50,000 homes have been improved to-date. Total benefits by 2050 are estimated to be £250 million from an initial investment of £11 million from the council plus £10 million from the energy suppliers.
Councils have the capacity to promote sustainable transport and green environments. For example they can use planning system to reduce the need to travel and promote cycling and walking and building local resilience through measures such as appropriate tree planting and shading.
Bath and North East Somerset Council working in partnership with local health service to reduce excess winter deaths. GP surgeries now refer vulnerable patients to energy efficiency support to better heat their homes. You can read about issue of fuel poverty on our resources page