§ Norman Baker
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what support has been given or is planned to be given to local authorities to assist towards obtaining carbon neutral status. 
§ Mr. Morley
In the recently published Energy White Paper the Government set out its strategy to help local authorities take a more proactive role in helping to create a low carbon economy. This includes establishing a new beacon councils theme on sustainable energy, promoting energy efficiency as areas to be considered for Public Service Agreements and reviewing guidance to Energy Conservation Authorities on complying with the requirements of the Home Energy Conservation Act.
The Carbon Trust and the Energy Saving Trust provide support to local authorities, through their various programmes, in reducing their carbon emissions and the development of a low carbon economy in the UK.
Defra officials are working with the Carbon Trust with the aim of developing a major new programme, to encourage local authorities to take a systematic approach to assessing their greenhouse gas emissions and setting challenging improvement targets. This builds on a pilot, involving 24 local authorities in England and Wales. "Councils for Climate Protection Programme" was established by Defra with the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) and the Local Government Association and ran from September 2000 until May 2002.