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29th October 2019 | Local Government, Press Releases

New climate charters are welcome but councils are ill-prepared for challenges ahead – Greens

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The Green Party has today welcomed the announcement of a Climate Action Charter for all of the State’s 31 Local Authorities but says that local authorities are not prepared nor resourced for the challenges that climate change and biodiversity loss will present.

Green Party Spokesperson for Local Government, Cllr Malcolm Noonansaid:

“We warmly welcome this commitment by the City and County Managers Association (CCMA) towards addressing the climate and biodiversity crisis but we remain deeply concerned that local government is simply not fit for purpose to deliver and inspire the change required.”

He said that the charter makes no reference to the biodiversity emergency and that including the line ‘in so far as is practicable’ with reference to measures to reducing carbon emissions, is a get out clause from making difficult decisions.

“Ultimately we have a serious governance and resourcing issue to making this charter a reality. We have the most centralised and underfunded local government system in Europe. Politically it is clientelist in structure and the skills do not exist within local authorities to build participative democracy and support young people in particular to be agents of change,” he said.

Cllr Noonan said that the charter was a positive step in the right direction from the CCMA but stated that the next government would need to introduce sweeping reforms of local government, including reinstating a tier of urban local governance, expanding the powers of local authorities towards mobility management and modal shift in transport, establishing EU units within every local authority to participate in European municipal projects and research and in being able to micro finance renewable energy and sustainability projects.

“We see this charter as a first step, albeit late in the day. In order for this charter to be realised on the ground, we need a deep and meaningful commitment by the CCMA and Central Government to place trust in local government to deliver and to give power to local communities to lead an urgent process of change,” concluded Cllr Noonan.