Cllr Bridget Smith, Vice Chair of the District Councils’ Network and Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council gave evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into ‘Enabling sustainable electrification of the UK economy’ on Wednesday 17 January.
DCN councils are leading on net zero at a local level, supporting renewable energy developments and helping residents cut down on fossil fuels.
Cllr Smith highlighted that grid constraints are the biggest challenge to the decarbonisation of our local communities, preventing individuals and businesses from transitioning away from fossil fuels.
She cited figures from the Local Government Association (LGA) that more than a thousand clean energy projects with planning permission are waiting to be built with net zero ambitions at risk of being scuppered if grid connection challenges are not fixed.
Cllr Smith also highlighted the importance of a plan-led system through Local Area Energy Plans and retrofitting homes. She emphasised that these should become statutory to put all councils on a level playing field.
Far from being the barriers to enabling sustainable electrification of the UK economy, she said that DCN councils and our communities are more often than not the drivers behind it. Councils across the country are working to deliver net zero and decarbonise the electricity system.