All 12 local authorities in North East England have committed to reduce carbon emission by 20 per cent by 2020 by signing up to the European Union's Covenant of Mayors.
The move means that the North East of England is the first region in the UK and Europe to sign up to the ambitious initiative, which aims to tackle climate change and reduce carbon emissions.
The Covenant of Mayors is a European Commission-led project which unites towns and cities across the continent with a common environmental purpose. It aims to allow local authorities to work together, sharing ideas and strategies to create energy-efficient and low-carbon cities.
North East Local Government’s commitment to reduce CO2 emissions will be officially recognised during the first Covenant of Mayors Ceremony on 10 February 2009 in Brussels, as part of EU Sustainable Energy Week. North East England is marking the occasion with a photo opportunity for the 12 leaders at the BALTIC in Gateshead on 12 February.
Councillor Mick Henry, Chair of the Association of North East Councils, said: “All local authorities have at the heart of their activities a responsibility to protect communities from risk. It is a testament to their commitment that the North East is the first region in Europe to sign the Covenant of Mayors. This demonstrates that local government in the North East has the ability to make a positive contribution to tackling the global challenge of climate change by exercising strong leadership and in helping create behavioural change amongst citizens and communities.”
Rt Hon Nick Brown MP Said: "This is an important commitment by individual city Governments across the European Union. The City Authorities are responding to the views of their citizens and I am really proud that all 12 North East authorities have committed themselves. This makes us the first region of the European Union to have put itself firmly behind the commitment to reduce CO2 emissions. "
Liberal Democrat MEP for the North East, Fiona Hall, reported on the Covenant of Mayors scheme to the European Parliament. She said: "I am delighted that all 12 major North East councils have signed up to the Covenant of Mayors. This puts the North East on the map in Europe, particularly as it is the only region in the UK, and indeed Europe, that has committed itself to this scheme.
"It is a chance for our local councils to work together and share best practice on energy efficiency, within the region and right across Europe. By being at the forefront on energy saving, North East councils will lead the way on transforming the region's economy, helping people out of fuel poverty, and creating many green jobs in the process."
Sarah-Jane King, Director of the North East England Office in Brussels (NEEO), said: “NEEO is pleased that each of the 12 major local authorities in the region has signed up to the EU Covenant of Mayors. Thanks to signing the Covenant, the North East will have a better chance of accessing EU funds to support local communities to go green.”
Notes for editors
The Covenant of Mayors initiative formally commits cities and regions to:
- Go beyond the objectives of the EU in terms of reducing their CO2 emissions through energy efficiency and renewable energy actions.
- Submit a sustainable energy action plan to the EU within a year, setting out proposed actions to reduce emissions by more than 20 per cent by 2020, with implementation reports at least every two years.
- Inform citizens of the achievements of the city through periodic reports, which will be monitored by a third party.
The mayors of more than 300 European cities are making a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond the EU target of 20 per cent by 2020. For more information go to http://www.managenergy.net/com.html
The 12 North East England local authorities are:
- Darlington Borough Council
- Hartlepool Borough Council
- Middlesbrough Council
- Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council
- Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
- Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council
- Newcastle upon Tyne City Council
- North Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council
- South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council
- Sunderland City Council