Lib Dems' conference: Huhne hears case for local carbon budgets

Climate secretary Chris Huhne, spoke to a packed Friends of the Earth meeting at the Liberal Democrats' party conference last week. Leading councillors urged him to support local strategies for tackling climate.

The event 'Going local to secure a low carbon future’ addressed the need to ensure every council does its bit to tackle climate change.

Bristol Council leader Barbara Janke, and Birmingham Deputy leader Paul Tisley spoke on the platform along with Friends of the Earth’s director Andy Atkins.

They made the case for a new national system of local carbon budgets that would mean every council would be supported to take action on climate change.

Birmingham and Bristol are among a growing number of councils supporting a petition to Chris Huhne calling for local carbon budgets.  Mayor Dorothy Thornhill from the local government association environment board, who also supports the measure, chaired the event.

Friends of the Earth experts attend the major party conferences each year to make sure the environment stays front of mind for politicians.

New report

The meeting at the Lib Dems conference saw the launch of a new report showing the massive potential for generating green electricity locally following the introduction of the Feed-in Tariff scheme, which Friends of the Earth campaigned for in 2008. 'Fit for the Future' was commissioned by Friends of the Earth and produced by Arup.

Chris Huhne welcomed the report. But there are rumours that the Feed-inTariff scheme will be watered down in October's Comprehensive Spending Review.

It's also rumoured that a sister scheme to support green heat, due to start in April 2011, will be delayed.

Mark Watts, Arup director, said such a move would put off vital investment in renewables. Paul Tilsey and Barbara Janke stressed that Feed-in Tariffs were crucial to allow councils to green their communities.

The verdict on the scheme will be announced after the spending review on the 20th October.

The meeting ended with a call for Chris Huhne to ensure that councils had the money, support and guidance to act on climate change

Please add your voice - ask your MP to tell Chris Huhne to ensure every council does it’s bit on climate change.