City reviews carbon reduction targets

By on 28/06/2012 in Cllr McKay, News

A review of Birmingham's carbon reduction targets will be carried out by a new Green Commission being established by the city council.

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart, today (June 26) revealed the review would be a top priority for the Commission – whose members will consist of representatives from across the private, academic and third sectors.

The review comes in response to the findings of a report from the council's internal audit team – which has questioned whether the city council will be able to achieve a flagship green policy goal of cutting carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2026.

The 60 per cent target applies to both the City Council, and the city as a whole based on 1990 figures. This target is an accelerated commitment compared to the current government target.

Key findings from the internal audit report include:

-    There are “serious concerns” with existing arrangements to ensure the set targets for the reduction of carbon emissions produced by the council are met

-    If the targets are not met, the council will potentially incur “significant financial costs of several million pounds” per year in the medium to long term

-    No formal arrangements have been established to monitor progress against the reduction targets set

-    No management information is being produced which could be used to monitor the council's level of carbon emissions

-    The council is unable to confirm its current position against the Government's legally-binding target of a 26 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020, or the authority's own target of 60 per cent by 2026

-    It is not possible to determine if the actions being taken will enable the council will meet these targets

-    It is essential that senior management take immediate action to address the issues raised

-    If the council could clearly demonstrate that it was progressing towards its reduction target, this would result in savings on the current Carbon Reduction Commitment allowance the authority has to currently purchase from the Government

Cllr McKay said: “Birmingham has made solid progress on the environmental agenda over the last few years but there is a huge question mark hanging over precisely how much of an impact has been made – and if our targets are appropriate or achievable.

“The council's new administration is determined to make Birmingham one of the world's leading green cities.

“We are fully committed to the green agenda. To build the public support we will need to put this into practice - so it is vital we are open and honest about progress so far.

“The Green Commission will draw on people with a variety of knowledge and experience to spearhead this effort, and its first piece of work will be to conduct a stocktake of where we are, so we know what needs to be done, what is achievable and how we get there.”

The membership of the Green Commission will be finalised in the coming weeks and its study into the city's carbon reduction target will be reported as soon as the work is complete.

Ends

Notes to editors

A copy of the audit report is available on request.

For more media information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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