Blog

Tom Hayes: Plans for Zero Emission Zone in Oxford race ahead in bid to cut emissions

We all have the right to clean air, yet millions of people across the UK are breathing toxic air on a daily basis. A recent report found that outdoor air pollution is linked to 40,000 deaths in the UK each year, and health experts warn that there is no safe level for pollutants. Toxic air affects every one of us, from the time that we are in the womb and through to old age, though some are more vulnerable, including those on the lowest incomes.

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Waseem Zaffar: Cleaning up our air for future generations

Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, reflects on the work the authority is doing to tackle a national public health crisis on a local level

 

 

Turn on the tap at home or in your workplace and you can be sure that what comes out will be safe to drink. We take clean drinking water for granted – though so many others around the world can’t -because we view it as a basic human right rather than a privilege.

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A message from Oxford City Council Cabinet Member Tom Hayes

Local power drives change – why councils hold the keys to the electric car revolution

Illegal and toxic air pollution is hurting people’s health, damaging their quality of life, and cutting lives short, and as a result it’s rocketing up the political agenda. As a medieval city with 21st century transport problems, Oxford has a problem with traffic-related air pollution that’s leading my council to take radical steps. Our determination to protect the health of our neighbourhoods can never succeed unless we truly clean up transport. Together with other councils, Oxford is campaigning for new money and powers from Government but also refusing to wait indefinitely for national change. Oxford’s ambition is simple—to introduce the world’s first Zero Emission Zone into our city centre.

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Cross-party local leaders highlight £1.5bn black hole in funding to fight air pollution in their towns and cities

16 Mayors, Metro Mayors and City Leaders call on Philip Hammond to make a cash injection into the Clean Air Fund as part of next week’s Budget

  • Leaders say £220m Clean Air Fund is ‘inadequate’ to fight ‘public health crisis’
  • A new £1.75bn Clean Air Fund would represent 0.2% of government spending
  • Joint letter also calls for a national targeted vehicle renewal scheme that prioritises the least well-off and small businesses to rid roads of the most polluting vehicles

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A Message from Camden Council Cabinet Member Adam Harrison

It has been a long hot summer so far, with record temperatures, devastating wildfires in Portugal, Greece and the United States, and life-threatening flash floods in southern France. Scientists have long warned that global warming will bring with it extreme weather events, and inevitably questions are being asked as to whether this summer is the new norm. I suspect we’ve still got some chilly, wet English summers to come, but I have no doubt that the climate is changing in significant and dangerous ways. As the Cabinet member for Improving Camden’s Environment at Camden Council I want us to be at the forefront of local action to tackle the issue.

In 2010, we became one of the first local authorities nationally to commit to a 40% boroughwide carbon reduction by 2020. With a population of over 220,000 and a significant commercial and institutional sector generating around 65% of Camden’s carbon emissions, we knew from the start that we could not bring down borough emissions on our own. So we established a supportive policy and programme framework that would enable businesses and residents to play their part in reducing the emissions driving climate change.

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MPs back UK100 proposals in Green Finance Report

People like investing in places and people they know. This truth, somewhat overlooked in much discussion about the barriers to investment that will help us stop catastrophic climate change, underpins some important recommendations in the report by the Environmental Audit Committee into Green Finance.

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UK100 Clean Air Commitment

Local Elections 2018:  UK100 Clean Air Commitment

The UK100 Clean Air Commitment is designed to give all local election candidates, but especially group leaders, the chance to show they are taking seriously the issue of air pollution in their community. It consists of four pledges, at least three of these need to be taken on by parties locally for it to be officially accepted as a commitment.

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What is Clean Energy?

UK100 encourages local leaders to adopt policies that will make a zero carbon economy a reality in their communities. Clean energy, generating power and heat from renewable sources, and developing technologies that reduce the carbon emissions of energy intensive industries, are key to a successful transition away from dependence on dirty fossil fuels.

The way we get there will change as the costs of technologies fall and the solutions we develop to manage demand and get smarter with our energy use increase.

That’s why our funders commissioned IPPR to develop a plan for the whole of London to paint a picture of what is possible by one city and one leader to make the shift.

Of course the levers that leaders have vary according to the powers they have. And ensuring this works for local residents, encouraging new industries and jobs, designing warmer, healthier homes is essential.

There are also global scenarios for the development of clean energy, which are regularly updated. In 2015, the energy [r]evolution estimated that:

“By 2050, 92% of the electricity produced worldwide will come from renewable energy sources in the basic Energy [R]evolution scenario. ‘New’ renewables – mainly wind, Pv, CSP and geothermal energy – will contribute 68% to the total electricity generation.”

You can read more of the report here (the key bit is on p86)

Is it just about renewable electricity?

No. We have so much more to do than just clean up our power supply. Heat is still mostly dependent on gas in the UK (and if you live off the gas grid you may be dependant on oil or coal), and some of our most important heavy industry (steel, chemicals and cement) may still depend on carbon-based sources of energy.

UK100 promotes the adoption of clean energy by local leaders.  While much of that will be across their own authority functions and activities (housing, transport, waste management) there is also an important role for their leadership in their wider community and local economy, for example in securing EV charging points, driving energy efficiency or innovative experiments such as Leeds’ H21 project piloting hydrogen in the gas grid.

 

We also encourage leaders in industrial regions, such as the Tees Valley, to show leadership in the adoption of low carbon and clean energy solutions, such as the deployment of CCS technology and CCS-ready energy generation. 

UK100 is pleased to support such ambitions, to enable our most energy intensive industries to be part of the transformation of our economy to zero carbon by 2050.

Carbon Capture and Storage has a prominent role to play in that transition. Closing down our industrial base is not an option in the pursuit of our international climate commitments.  By delivering new technologies, we can continue to grow our economy, while also contributing to radical reductions in carbon emissions.