Resource shortage is a major challenge to net zero

Published On: November 21, 2023

People are only now beginning to understand just how much achieving this ambitious aim entails – Daniella Barrow, Senior Director, Norse Consulting

Working in partnership can help ensure councils have the resources they need to meet their zero ambitions

With local government facing so much adversity, and the continuing turmoil in the economic, social and political environments, I believe there is very real risk of underestimating one of the most important challenges – achieving net zero.

Nationwide, local authorities have declared their commitment to net zero, yet in conversations with local government leaders it has been regularly brought home to me that people are only now beginning to understand just how much achieving this ambitious aim entails.

However well prepared councils may be, much of net zero is dependent on central government action – infrastructure for
electric vehicle charging, reliable green energy supplies, and a regulatory framework which enables local government to implement greening of their buildings and change the way services are delivered.

I believe that without significant government support we and our local authority partners will struggle to achieve our aims.
However, there is also the question of resource capacity at the local level.

Already besieged by financial constraints, many councils have had to reduce internal resources to save money, and as a result have lost people with the experience and qualifications to deliver their net zero strategies. This is especially so when it comes to designing new buildings and bringing existing stock up to the required standard.

In our own business, and particularly in our local authority partnerships, the more we look into it, the more we understand just how much is involved in delivering decarbonisation targets.

Norse’s specialist environmental consultancy is working with our council partners to develop a comprehensive strategy to achieve net zero as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

Net zero will require central government leadership and local implementation. Using their regulatory powers, procurement processes and their close relationship with residents, councils can control the delivery of low carbon infrastructure, and I believe that working in partnership can help ensure they have the resources necessary to meet their zero ambitions.