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TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE - TOP TIPS FOR LOCAL AUTHORITIES

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Tips from the Carbon Trust for local authorities looking to do more to tackle climate change, both from the strateg...
Tips from the Carbon Trust for local authorities looking to do more to tackle climate change, both from the strategic to the simply practical.

1. Start thinking now about how the local government white paper will be able to help you streamline and achieve climate change priorities, such as the use of local or multi-area agreements. How can you make sure that the issue is built in as part of vital talks on key issues such as boosting an area's economy, as well as planning and transport priorities?

2. In these times of tight resources, ensure that your council is not wasting time trying to reinvent the wheel when there is good practice out there already, both national and internationally. Speaking to the Improvement & Development Agency, and signing up to the Nottingham Declaration, are both good starts.

3. Don't leave tackling climate change to your environment colleagues - the issue is everyone's responsibility, so make it a team effort. Senior managers should make a point of asking employees where they think energy is being wasted, and encourage them to think about how they can all use less. Finance departments should investigate how much their council could save by taking a few practical steps.

4. Speaking of which, measure how much energy you're using. Unless you know what you're paying, you won't know what impact the changes make. Keep track of your bills, and how they change when councils introduce energy-saving tips.

5. Encourage staff to switch off equipment when they are not using it. On average offices waste£6,000 each year by leaving equipment on over weekends and bank holidays. Just getting employees to turn off their monitors when they go home can make a big difference.

6. Consider converting existing equipment in council and school buildings to energy efficient technologies, such as energy-saving lightbulbs, to save both carbon and again, money.

7. As well as putting your own house in order, think about how you could get residents to be greener. The Energy Savings Trust offers good advice regarding this, but don't rule out controversial plans such as those proposed by Richmond upon Thames LBC if the positives will outweigh the negatives for your communities.

8. At the very least, call expert bodies such as the Carbon Trust who can help councils start to make sense of what they need to do to cut carbon. Ring the Carbon Trust on its free advice line on 0800 085 2005 or log on to www.carbontrust.co.uk/energy for details of all the programmes mentioned in this issue, including Salix finance [a Carbon Trust energy financing scheme that funds councils to invest in energy efficient projects].

Housing, planning & environment

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