Environmental lawyers have asked Brent Council to provide “evidence-based” carbon reduction targets and ensure it can meet them through new planning policies.
They have given them eight weeks to explain how they will reach their carbon reduction targets as part of updated local plans.
Sam Hunter Jones, from ClientEarth, said councils have legal duties under planning and environmental law to monitor carbon emissions.
“There is a collective failure by local authorities across England to plan adequately for climate change. Too often climate change is perceived to be just a national or international issue and therefore solely the responsibility of central government,” he said.
“Climate action at a local level can transform people’s quality of life for the better, with clear net benefits to health, air and water quality, employment, energy affordability, community cohesion and biodiversity.”
He noted that everyone has a responsibility to do more, including central government, but many key decisions affecting daily life are made at local level.
Lawyers pointed out that for carbon targets to be meaningful, they need to be incorporated into local planning policy as a core objective against which all other policies and decisions will be tested.
Mr Hunter Jones added: “Each and every planning decision taken today must be in line with long-term climate goals, because what and how we build today will determine our climate impact and resilience in the crucial decades to come.”
Several councils, including Brent, have declared ‘climate emergencies’ to signify their intentions to address climate change in their regions.
Cllr Krupa Sheth, responsible for the environment at Brent Council, said it is committed to tackling the issue and is working on plans on how to achieve this.
She said: “In July, Brent Council declared a climate emergency and we will be doing everything we reasonably can to achieve carbon neutrality in Brent by 2030, as well working with the government to achieve the national 2050 target.
“As you can imagine, it’s a huge task so we are still shaping our plans and we look forward to sharing more detail when we have it.”