COSLA is calling on the Scottish Government to recognise the vital role which Local Government is playing to tackle climate change, thus enabling people to ‘Live Well Locally.’
COSLA also said that the financial challenges presented by the Just Transition to a Net Zero Economy were massive as was the requirement to prepare for the inevitable effects of global warming – but warned that the price we will pay for inaction will be far higher and will fall disproportionately on the poorest in society, both in Scotland and across the world.
Commenting today (Thursday) Councillor Steven Heddle, COSLA Environment and Economy Spokesperson said: “This must be a climate budget allowing Local Government to focus on action and delivery on the ground that improves people’s lives and moves us to net zero.
“It’s very difficult to put a price tag on what is needed to get us to the 2030 climate target, let alone the 2045 net zero target.
“However, we are most likely talking in the region of many billions of pounds which will be needed to be invested in decarbonising heat and transport alone. But inaction could see the most vulnerable within communities further disadvantaged.
“We have good legislation, plans and strategies in Scotland, but now we need the financial backing to turn these into reality. We will need to invest significant new capital funding in infrastructure, technology and buildings, but we also need a multi-year commitment to increase revenue funding to Local Government to help with skills and project development. For example, projects focussed on heating homes in an energy efficient and affordable way stand to benefit the most vulnerable in our communities.
Councillor Heddle continued: “Businesses have to invest in research and development to help them prepare for the future, and local authorities are no different.
“Yes, the funding provided by Scottish Government for national projects is welcome, but councils need funding to be able to develop and lead their own net zero programmes. I would go so far as to say that without further investment in Local Government, our chances of getting to our Net Zero goal will be severely diminished.
“However, let it never be said that we do not understand the seriousness of the challenge and our commitment to tackling climate change and protecting the vulnerable in the process is unwavering.”
He concluded: “With COP 26 ending just two weeks ago we will never have a better moment to show the world that Scotland means business on tackling climate change. Local and Scottish Government are agreed on the goal we want to achieve, but we need more recognition that an underfunded Local Government is ill prepared for the climate challenge to come.
“The pandemic has shown that preparedness pays off in the end, so an investment in Local Government is, I believe, an investment in the future Scotland we want to build and achieve our objective of allowing people to Live Well Locally.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
COSLA launched its Live Well Locally budget lobbying campaign on November 15. You can read more here: COSLA LAUNCHES BUDGET LOBBYING CAMPAIGN | COSLA