A report published today by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has criticised the Government for what it describes as the ‘poor quality’ of emissions measuring and reporting across central government.

The committee said that responsibility for emissions reporting is split across three central government departments and the guidance issued is ‘too vague’.

The PAC also said that it was not convinced that the Government or the wider public sector – which it said should ‘lead by example’ – were using emissions data to drive decision-making.

PAC chair Meg Hillier MP said: ‘Government promised to lead the way to national decarbonisation but isn’t even putting its own house in order. Vague guidance and lack of follow up make it hard for the public to hold the Government to account.

‘A free for all on reporting veils progress or lack of it. Government needs to be clearer and must publish consistent standards for measuring and reporting emissions across the public sector so that it can be properly held to account.’

In response to the report, Cllr David Renard, environment spokesperson for the Local Government Association (LGA), said: ‘It is vital the Government acts fast to give councils the policy and investment framework as well as the powers and resources to deliver on the projects and culture changes that will make a difference in local communities and help achieve net zero.

‘Councils want to turn ambitions and policy work into a deliverable plan for decarbonising and adapting places. This starts with properly understanding local carbon emissions and councils are already taking steps towards this by using the LGA Greenhouse Gas Accounting tool to provide a straightforward and consistent approach to calculate their own carbon baseline.

‘Councils are rooted in their places where people live their lives and businesses do their business, and know their communities better than anyone else. This is why they are best-placed to lead the way towards a Net Zero future.’