Councils could help cut carbon emissions through food waste collections, says the Committee on Climate Change
Councils should have "low-carbon plans" to cut emissions through measures such as home energy saving schemes and food waste collections, the Government's climate advisers have said.
The Committee on Climate Change claimed that additional funding is needed to help local authorities play a key part in the Government's flagship "green deal" programme to boost energy efficiency in households and deliver carbon cuts in transport, waste and energy.
Committee members also said local authorities had a crucial role to play in meeting national legally-binding goals to tackle climate change.
But in the current financial situation there was a risk that town halls would not take steps to make significant cuts in greenhouse gases, putting legal targets to reduce emissions in 2020s under threat, they added.
The committee said the Government should seriously consider bringing in a statutory duty on councils to develop area-wide low carbon plans and report on their implementation, which would prioritise emissions reduction measures.
Additional funding from central government could help local councils drive forward the green deal and roll out schemes such as electric vehicle charging networks. But it ruled out carbon targets for councils as many of the sources of emissions in an area are outside local authority control.
Local authorities should be acting as providers or partners in the green deal, which will cover upfront costs of energy efficiency measures such as insulation for householders, with the money paid back through savings on energy bills.
David Kennedy, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, said local authorities were well-placed to deliver on the green deal because they were trusted by communities, had information about housing stock and were social landlords.
The committee's latest report also said councils had an important role to play in increasing recycling and separate food waste collections and promoting energy from waste schemes to help cut emissions from the sector by 20% by 2020 on 2010 levels.
Mr Kennedy said: "Waste is the responsibility of local authorities and is a significant source of emissions. They've got opportunities to reduce waste emissions either by recycling or converting waste to energy and converting food waste to gas."