EAUC calls on universities and colleges to support local authorities

3rd September 2019

This week, lawyers from ClientEarth are putting 100 local authorities across England on notice, warning them that they will violate their legal obligations and risk legal challenge if they do not introduce proper climate change plans.

EAUC is calling on universities to lobby their local authorities to do more to reduce their carbon emissions rapidly, and to support them in any way they can.

According to UK planning and environmental legislation, local plans must include robust evidence-based carbon targets. Amid growing pressure for local governments to declare ‘climate emergencies’, there is a massive shortfall in compliant local planning policy across the country, despite the legal requirements for this.

Many universities and colleges have set an excellent precedent in their community, by declaring a climate emergency, setting net zero targets, and putting carbon reduction measures at the heart of their strategy and policies. We encourage them to support their community by sharing their knowledge with local authorities and advising them on best practice. One way to do this is to make sure an institutional representative is on the local authority’s steering group.  

We urge our members to check and see if your local authority is on the list, and if it is, get in touch with them as soon as possible to discuss carbon targets. While they are updating their local plans is the very best time to push for change.

ClientEarth are writing to each local authority that is currently developing a new local plan, giving them eight weeks to explain how they will set evidence-based carbon reduction targets and ensure these targets are then central to their new planning policy.

ClientEarth climate lawyer Sam Hunter Jones said: “There is a collective failure by local authorities across England to plan adequately for climate change. Too often climate change is perceived to be just a national or international issue and therefore solely the responsibility of central government.

Clearly central government needs to do more, as the recent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) progress reports stress. Yet so many of the daily decisions around new and existing infrastructure – such as new buildings, roads and utilities – are made at the local level. All of these decisions will ‘lock in’ an area’s future emissions and its resilience to climate change.

Scientists warn that we have 10 years to transform our economies and avoid catastrophic climate change, but decisions that will have ramifications for decades are being made now by authorities with no idea if these decisions are consistent with national and international commitments to limit emissions."

“In July this year, the CCC criticised the UK’s continued failure to take action on emissions from buildings and transport – two sectors where local planning plays a critical role.”

Hunter Jones said that while many local authorities face difficult economic conditions, there are substantial benefits to climate-sensitive planning, such as improving local economies and creating jobs.

“Climate action at a local level can transform people’s quality of life for the better, with clear net benefits to health, air and water quality, employment, energy affordability, community cohesion and biodiversity.”

Local authorities across the country have declared climate emergencies and announced local carbon reduction targets. At the city level, Greater Manchester and London have committed to net zero emissions targets by 2038, while Bristol and Leeds are aiming for 2030 and Nottingham for 2028.

A full list of the councils ClientEarth is writing to can be found below:
Ashfield District Council
Babergh District Council
Barnet, London Borough of
Bassetlaw District Council
Bexley, London Borough of
Blaby District Council
Bournemouth Borough Council
Bradford District Council
Brent, London Borough of
Bristol City Council
Broadland District Council
Cambridge City Council
Cannock Chase District Council
Charnwood Borough Council
Cheshire East Council
Chichester District Council
Chiltern District Council
Chorley Council
Copeland District Council
Corby Borough Council
Crawley Borough Council
Dacorum Borough Council
Dartford Borough Council
Doncaster Borough Council
Dorset District Council
Dover District Council
Dudley Council
East Hampshire District Council
East Northamptonshire Council
East Riding of Yorkshire Council
Elmbridge Borough Council
Enfield, London Borough of
Epsom and Ewell Borough Council
Erewash Borough Council
Fareham Borough Council
Gosport Borough Council
Great Yarmouth Borough Council
Greater Manchester Combined Authority
Hambleton District Council
Hastings Borough Council
Herefordshire District Council
Hertsmere Borough Council
Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
Horsham District Council
Hyndburn Borough Council
Islington, London Borough of
Kings Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council
Kingston Upon Thames, London Borough of
Lambeth, London Borough of
Lancaster City Council
Leicester City Council
Lewes District Council
Lewisham, London Borough of
Lichfield District Council
Liverpool City Region
Malvern Hills District Council
Merton, London Borough of
Mid Suffolk District Council
Mole Valley District Council
Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council
North Lincolnshire Council
North Norfolk District Council
Norwich City Council
Portsmouth City Council
Preston Borough Council
Rochford District Council
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
Sheffield City Council
Shropshire Council
Slough Borough Council
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
Somerset West and Taunton Council
South Buckinghamshire District Council
South Cambridgeshire District CouncilSouth Norfolk Council
South Ribble Borough Council
South Somerset District Council
South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council
Southampton City Council
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
Spelthorne Borough Council
Stafford Borough Council
Stoke on Trent City Council
Stroud District Council
Surrey Heath Borough Council
Swindon Borough Council
Teignbridge District Council
Test Valley Borough Council
Three Rivers District Council
Thurrock Council
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Wakefield Council
Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council
Waltham Forest, London Borough of
Wandsworth London Borough Council
Watford Borough Council
West Lancashire District Council
Wiltshire Council
Winchester City Council
Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council
Wokingham District Council
Wolverhampton City Council
Worcester City Council
Worthing Borough Council
Wychavon District Council

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