I’m sure it’s not much of a surprise to our readers that local authorities have been very thrifty lately due to the recent public sector cuts. Belt tightening and cuts didn’t stop at just streamlining services, either. There’s been a corresponding cut in carbon emissions in 402 out of 406 local authorities across the UK.

A recent report published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) revealed that emissions fell dramatically across the country.  In terms of reducing the UK’s carbon emission and working towards our reduction targets this would usually be great news, but as the report indicated, the majority of the emission reduced can be attributed to the economic downturn.

We noticed that the study highlighted some big stats in terms of carbon emission reductions from specific local authorities, like Gravesham council in Kent who saw the largest fall in emissions between 2005 and 2009 of a whopping 66 per cent.

It’s obviously that these kinds of reductions, although great for the greater good of the environment and out targets, are at the cost of jobs, services and our economy. Bad times mean a strange sort of ‘good’, essentially.

Despite this run of bad/good luck, plenty of councils are already on the right lines in terms of approaching energy efficiency and carbon reduction head on in their day-to-day work. 

London boroughs are already tackling energy efficiency proactively and have signed up to a joint initiative with ourselves and the GLA.  The scheme, called RE:NEW,  means that thousands of homes get energy advice and a number of devices, such as low energy light bulbs and radiator panels, absolutely free.  For the homes that need more substantial energy saving measures, such as insulation, these will be carried out and subsidised for those able to pay and free for those on qualifying benefits. Nice.

The RE:NEW campaign is a brilliant example of local authorities working closely with residents to help them save money on their energy bills and hit their own carbon reduction targets. The hub of retrofit activity is not limited to within the confines of the M25, though – many a councils outside of London are on the right path to a greener future – with lots of different approaches in terms of how to do it.  

Brighton and Hove council, for example, are planning to install solar panels on 1,600 homes across the region, while way further north, Aberdeen City Council is set to offer a council tax discount for those installing an energy efficient gas boiler, renewable or low carbon heating system to replace an existing electric, coal or oil heating system. This is very much the tip of the iceberg.

You can see what else is going on in the world of regional energy efficiency on our website – and indeed, how you can get help from us if you’re at the forefront of local sustainability. And of course, if you’d rather cut out the middle man and get your home up to scratch yourself, start with a Home Energy Check.