Speaking at a conference today organised by the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Local Government Management Board (LGMB), on behalf of the Local Agenda 21 Steering Group, Mr Prescott was joined by Michael Meacher, minister for the environment. Mr Prescott told delegates: 'If we are to build sustainable communities, central and local government will have to work hand in hand. I am here today to encourage all local authorities to get involved to promote lasting improvements in the quality of life of local people and their children and I want us to reconvene in a few months to check progress', he said.
Derek Bateman, chair of the LGA's environment and regeneration board said: 'I am delighted to see our work with the government to promote Local Agenda 21 come to fruition in this joint guidance. Local authorities have long since understood that the principles of sustainable development must be at the heart of what they do and currently over 70 per cent of them have developed Local Agenda 21 strategies. This guidance refers to some excellent examples of good practice, but there is still much to be learnt and achieved and this will require commitment from the highest level within every local authority.
'Mr Blair has asked all local authorities to develop Local Agenda 21 strategies by the year 2000. Working across traditional boundaries, both internally and externally in developing a corporate approach, may prove a challenge for some. However I would urge all local authorities to take up this challenge - not only for the benefit of our present communities, but those of the future,' he said.