Just put this chart together from the data released by AEA through DECC.
The data is *not* for total emissions in each area, but is adjusted to take out large point sources of emissions (power stations, cement works and the like) and motorways. The emissions remaining (basically domestic, transport and commercial) are those used for National Indicator 186, which is reported on by all local authorities and is a ‘core’ indicator for the Local Area Agreements in seven out of the nine upper tier authorities (Derby, Derbyshire, Leicester, Northamptonshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire and Rutland).
At the moment that the authorities are largely heading in the right direction; all but Derby reduced their emissions between 2007 and 2008. In the coming days, I’ll be putting up a more detailed comparison with the LAA targets as well as a breakdown of the district councils in the five counties.
CAVEAT 1: eagle-eyed readers will notice these are 2008 figures, yet have only just been released. That’s because there’s a 21-month time delay in the CO2 figures being released (at local authority level anyway, national figures came out in February). While Local Area Agreements end in March 2011, statistics covering that period won’t be available for another couple of years yet.
CAVEAT 2: anyone following these statistics closely should be aware that the baseline year figures (2005) have been adjusted (again) with this data release. All the data in this release (and the chart above) is based on the same methodology, but if you’ve seen any data in previous years this might look a bit different.
UPDATE: The full coalition agreement has been issued today. On renewable energy, there are promises of a grid to support the development of offshore wind power and promotion of a “huge” increase in anearobic digestion energy. As in the earlier agreement, there is no mention of onshore wind farms. The national renewables target is likely to be increased following advice from the Climate Change Committee.
Regional Spatial Strategies will be abolished “rapidly”, and the Infrastructure Planning Commission will be replaced with a new “democratically accountable” body for major projects. Only one wind farm currently in planning for the East Midlands falls into this category
Yesterday’s announcement of the government’s Big Society programme has removed some of the uncertainty around the Coalition’s local government policy; the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats look set to roll back many of the changes resulting from New Labour’s 2007 Sub National Review. The ?Building the Big Society? document commits government to abolishing the Regional Spatial Strategy and removing planning responsibilities from Regional Development Agencies. This rolls back measures introduced in the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 requiring Regional Development Agencies and? Local Authority Leaders? Boards to prepare an Integrated Regional Strategy, bringing together the existing Spatial and Economic Strategies.
It?s early days to know exactly how this will be implemented, but it seems fair to suggest that the Cameron Government is looking to cut back on the regional tier; the Conservatives? ?Control Shift? (2009) policy paper contained an entire section entitled ?Removing Regional Government?:
What might this mean for renewable energy, a significant part of sub-national climate change policy? As mentioned in a previous post, the Conservatives are keen to let the market decide on the mix of energy supplies within a framework of incentives set by government.
Wind has been earmarked as the energy source with greatest potential to contribute to the East Midlands? renewable energy target which local authority planners must currently give consideration to. However, if regional energy targets are scrapped, local authorities may have little incentive to grant planning permission in the face of often vocal and motivated opposition. Power generation sites are not included in the emissions calculations for NI186 which measure many authorities? performance on climate change.?? Any govenrment incentives would have to take these issues into account if wind energy is going to remain a key part of renewable energy growth. (It is worth noting again that the only renewable enrgy source refered to within the initial coalition agreement is anaerobic digestion.)
The Big Society programme marks the new government?s first steps in addressing a fundamental issue which goes to the heart of sub-national climate policy: how best to balance national priorities with greater devolution of power to local authorities. The current approach of regional scale planning to meet regional energy targets appears to be heading towards the exit. If the regional link is to disappear, the challenge for government is reconciling the national renewables target of 15% by 2020 with local accountability and environmental concerns.