The key role of local authorities in meeting ambitious climate change targets for 2045 will be undermined unless the Scottish Government provides a fair settlement for councils in this year’s budget.
Strong local leadership and action will be required, and a number of council services are at the forefront of combating the issue. Transport services, energy efficiency advice and grants, environmental health and regulation, planning, economic development services, waste services, fleet services, and flood protection are all vital if Scotland is to meet its climate targets.
COSLA Resources Spokesperson Councillor Gail Macgregor said:
“This is about more than money. It’s about investing so councils to reduce the need for travel by developing sustainable alternatives including the world class digital infrastructure to enable the transformation of services. It’s about enabling investment in cleaner, greener public transport and buildings. It’s about supporting businesses in all sectors to achieve zero carbon; it’s about providing and maintaining vibrant green spaces across the country, and only Scotland’s councils can work across all these agendas.
“The risks are clear, trying to meet these ambitious targets without investing in Local Government will be challenging in the extreme. If we are serious about meeting them a fair settlement is vital. We want to ensure that no families live in energy inefficient home detrimental to their finances, health and wellbeing; we want to ensure that remote and rural communities have transport services that are fit for purpose, and that there is an end to social isolation, limited opportunities and depopulation.
“Addressing climate change depends on the essential services local authorities provide day in day out. If the Scottish Government is seriously committed to tackling this issue, then it must invest in Scotland’s councils.”
Mark Ferguson, Chair of UNISON Scotland’s local government committee said:
“We will not meet out our climate change targets unless we invest in council services. Transport, planning, environmental services and many more local services are key to transitioning to a greener economy and councils have a key role in engaging local communities, other agencies and businesses in developing local actions. But councils have taken the brunt of austerity with severe cuts to services. Audit Scotland point out that councils are ‘straining to keep pace’ with demand. We need a cross party review of funding for local government to ensure our local services get the investment they need to meet the demands of future generations.”