A study of 30 UK cities found that many have made little progress with their plans to deal with climate change

UK cities' climate change plans 'need action'

Many cities across the UK are failing to implement plans to deal with climate change, a report has found.

A study of 30 cities found that all of the authorities acknowledged that climate change was a threat and all but two of them had a strategy in place to reduce emissions, but the report claims that many of the cities have done nothing about these plans and lack long-term investment in the strategies.

Dr Oliver Heidrich, who led the research at Newcastle University, said: "Of the 30 cities we assessed, all of them acknowledged that climate change was a threat and all except two had a strategy or policy in place to reduce emissions and also adapt to cope better with future weather patterns, in particular flooding.

"But a plan is only any good if you implement it and then assess it to see how effective it has been, this requires a long-term investment in the strategies. We found that in many cities this wasn't happening. In some cases, plans were in place but nothing had been done about them."

The study, which said there is a "postcode lottery of preparedness", gave London and Leicester the highest scores and Wrexham and Derry the lowest.

Dr Heidrich said the aim was not to name and shame cities, but to ensure that climate change policies were in place.

He said: "The aim of this research is not to name and shame cities, but if we are to be prepared for the increased occurrences of floods and droughts then we do need to make sure that our climate change policies are in place, that they are working and that the consequences of implementing these strategies are being checked.

"What this research highlights more than anything is the huge variations in the state of readiness for climate change across the UK, and the method of assessing the preparedness of cities can easily be applied to cities in other countries.

"Although cities of all sizes across the UK acknowledge climate change is a threat, there is considerable spread of measures in place and huge inconsistency in policy between areas and against national and international targets."

The ranking system scored the cities on four levels of readiness; assessment, planning, action and monitoring.

Other cities that were highlighted included Newcastle, which has an advanced electric vehicle infrastructure in place, and Sheffield and Coventry, which have established programmes to produce more energy from waste and reduce landfill.

Almost all cities had set targets for reducing CO2 emissions but many would not commit to an actual target, figure or timescale, rendering them meaningless, according to the report.

But Edinburgh was one of those with a deadline, setting a target of reducing carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 and to achieve a zero carbon economy by 2050.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "It's great to see Edinburgh highlighted as one of those cities that has at least set a deadline to reduce climate emissions. However, it's vital that along with any targets are clear city-wide policies on transport, waste and energy that will deliver the agreed cuts in pollution.

"Scotland has rightly set itself the strongest climate laws in the world. To deliver on its pledge will require action at all levels and across all sectors of society. With the right support from central government, our cities are well placed to help drive forward plans for a low-carbon Scotland."

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