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At least 70,000 jobs could be created across England and Wales if councils slashed climate-changing emissions by insulating homes and businesses and fitting green energy to buildings, according to independent research released by Friends of the Earth today (Thursday 25 June 2009).

The research - by leading advisors to councils on climate change Carbon Descent - was published to launch a new nationwide campaign calling for local councils take urgent action to cut CO2  emissions.

Friends of the Earth's new campaign - Get Serious About CO2 - turns the spotlight on the big part local councils need to play in cutting the UK's carbon emissions. The campaign is calling on councils to commit to cutting carbon dioxide emissions in their local area by at least 40 per cent by 2020 and produce an action plan detailing how they will make the cuts.

The new research analyses the manpower required to insulate homes and businesses and install green energy on buildings - two of the key ways in which councils could achieve a reduction in their emissions of at least 40 per cent by 2020.

New jobs could be available as loft laggers, architects, plumbers, builders, electricians, plasterers and insulation specialists - with new admin, transit and warehouse positions also created to support the installation of insulation and renewable energy.

Some local councils are already putting in place schemes like those modelled in the research - for example Kirklees Council in Yorkshire has created 120 jobs through insulating 21,000 homes.

The latest science tells us that rich countries like the UK have to cut their emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020. Otherwise, climate change will make a billion of the poorest people in the world homeless - and people in the UK will be affected too by increased flooding and droughts, rising food prices and economic instability.

Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins said:

"Local councils must play a big part in slashing the UK's carbon emissions to help avoid runaway climate change.

"With the economy in such a sorry state at the moment, our towns, cities and villages could really use a boost from new green jobs.

"Some pioneering councils are already leading the way through comprehensive home insulation programmes and installing green energy like solar panels to buildings.

"If every council in England and Wales took action too they could create 70,000 new jobs, cut fuel bills and make people's homes more snug."


Return to the Get Serious About CO2 campaign pages

Notes to Editor:

1.   Carbon Descent is an independent social enterprise and environmental trust that creates strategies and delivers solutions that measurably reduce carbon footprints. Carbon Descent has worked in the key areas of energy, resource use, transport, the built environment and renewables for over 10 years, partnering with local authorities, private businesses, charities and communities.

2.   See a detailed media briefing about the research. The figure of 70,000 is based on conservative assumptions and should be regarded as a minimum estimate.

The figure was calculated from a detailed study of 65 local authority areas. 22,249 jobs were predicted for these areas and the population of these authority areas is 16,091,400. This can be extrapolated to the population of England and Wales (50,075,000), resulting in the figure of 72,002 jobs.

The figure of potential jobs in the 65 local authority areas was calculated from a model developed by Carbon Descent based on how many man hours it would take to fit insulation and renewable energy, with each job to last for a period of 10 years. This was calculated from:

·    Estimates from each local authority of the number of homes with cavity

walls but without cavity wall insulation; the number of homes without good loft insulation and the potential number of combined heat and power schemes. This data was mainly obtained from the Energy Saving Trust Home Energy Efficiency Database.

·    Data from Carbon Descent's study on Middlesbrough, Tower Hamlets and

Hampshire about the extent of measures that would be necessary for the council to cut emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020. This data was extrapolated for the size of each of the 65 local authorities that we studied in detail.

3.   Friends of the Earth's campaign - Get Serious About CO2 - is calling on councils to commit to cutting carbon dioxide in the local area by at least 40 per cent by 2020 - and produce an action plan detailing how it's going to happen. The campaign is also calling for more money and less hassle for councils to do things like improve public transport, insulate more homes and install green energy, and for a new duty on councils that fail to act on climate change.

4.   Friends of the Earth believes the environment is for everyone. We want a healthy planet and a good quality of life for all those who live on it. We inspire people to act together for a thriving environment. We campaign on a range of issues including climate change, biodiversity, waste, transport and food. For further information visit

5.   The Get Serious About CO2 campaign is supported by the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health and Environment Protection UK.

If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.


Published by Friends of the Earth Trust