More than two thirds of the 318 local councils polled in a survey conducted by the Energy Saving Trust complained of a “lack of leadership” from central government, saying they needed more training, help in obtaining funding, and technical support.

“We saw a strong commitment to climate change initiatives,” said EST business marketing manager Christine Kinnear, whose team had conducted the survey. As many as 97% of local council representatives said they felt informed about climate change issues, and the majority had either operating or planned climate change strategies, she said.

The research “does, however, paint a challenging picture of our local authorities and it is clear that they need more support to translate willingness into action,” said EST Chief Executive Phillip Sellwood.

Despite the good intentions, more than 80% of local councils polled did not believe they were making significant progress in tackling climate change. Councils were lacking resources to implement climate change projects in areas such as renewable energy and energy efficiency, Ms Kinnear said.

But the survey also pointed to “pockets of improvement”, with successful climate change initiatives demonstrating the potential in local councils’ willingness to tackle the issue. One example is Braintree, Essex, where the installation of cavity wall insulation is already bringing energy savings sufficient to pay off the initial investment in two years time, said Ms Kinnear.

by Goska Romanowicz

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