hand digging in grass

A Million Green Fingers

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) is pushing for changes to the government’s Environment Bill to unleash the million green fingers of its movement of 100,000 local councillors to create a greener, more environmentally friendly and sustainable communities.

While NALC has broadly welcomed the bill – which recently completed its stages in the House of Commons and moved to the House of Lords. NALC believes a more community-friendly piece of new legislation could help England’s 10,000 local (parish and town) councils do even more for their communities and the nation in tackling the climate emergency.

Research conducted by NALC as part of its climate change work supporting local councils deliver on their environmental ambitions, shows areas of activity local councils are leading or involved in including solar panels, reusable energy, plastic-free initiatives, litter picks and clean-ups, electric cars, and charging points, wind farms and tree planting.

Measures being proposed by NALC to improve and strengthen the bill include:

  • Ensuring local communities have a strong voice and involvement in Nature Recovery Partnerships and the development of Local Nature Recovery Strategies.
  • New powers to enable local councils to protect and plant trees which will help deliver the government’s The England Trees Action Plan 2021-24, to promote and operate schemes to re-use and/or up-cycled goods and materials, and to be eligible to use the Localism Act’s general power of competence.
  • Introducing a new Community Environment Fund aimed at supporting local councils and community groups in unparished areas, along with a new power to provide ministers of the crown to grant fund local councils.
  • Delivering on the ambitions of the government’s communities framework by deeds and their results: strengthening our communities and nation by levelling up local democracy and creating local councils across all of England so communities are not left behind in being able to take community-led action on climate change because they do not have a local council.
  • A requirement for all drive-through food outlets to print on all packaging of sold items the vehicle registration number from which occupants made the purchase and such printing include the time, date and venue of that purchase.

Read NALC's full response to the bill