Local Authorities Role In Environmental Issues Environmental Sciences Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

An organization that is offered responsible for all the public services and facilities in a particular area is known as local authority. It refers collectively to administrative authority over areas that are smaller than a state. Local government only act its delegated powers by legislation or directives of high command or higher level of government and each country have some different types of local government and all are the different from other countries local government. In developed nations, local government usually have some of the similar kind of powers as national government do, most of them are usually use their powers for the raising of taxes though it may be limited by central legislation. The local government institution varies greatly between countries, and even some where similar arrangements exist, sometime terminology varies. There are some common names for local government entitles include state, province, region, department, county, prefecture, district, city, township, town, borough, parish, municipality, shire and village. However there all names are used informally in different countries and the legal part of central government is local authority which plays a role for the local community on the advice of central government.

There has been a great deal of restructuring in local authorities in England over recent years. In 1986, the abolition of the metropolitan county councils led to creation of two separate structures for local government in England (with slightly variations in the case of London). As a result of further local government reorganization under the local Government Act 1992, there are now three main types of local authority.

Single tier London boroughs and metropolitan districts. In metropolitan areas, there is a one tier system, the metropolitan district councils. These obviously have responsibility for all matters, although some functions (police, fire and transport) are run by joint boards of the councils.

Non metropolitan areas, in non metropolitan areas there are two tier systems of county and district councils. In constitutional terms these two tiers are equal, but they have differing responsibilities. County councils have responsibility for the police, fire services, personal, social services, transport, highways, education, libraries, and development control in certain prescribed county matters including waste disposal and mineral development. District councils have responsibility for housing, general housing, general development, and control recreation, environmental and public health. This split causes problems for the public which often finds it difficult to identify which tier is responsible for any particular matter. The problem is particularly acute in the environmental sphere because of the overlapping powers of the two tiers (e.g. in town planning). This confusion was cited as one of the factor which led to the reorganisations of local government and the introduction of unitary authorities.

Unitary authorities is the third class of local authority was created after the review of local government considered as large proposals to introduce more single tier authorities to replicate the powers of the metropolitan district councils.

The system of local government is different in each of the four countries of the United Kingdom. In total, there are 433 local authorities in the UK. 353 of these are in England, 26 in Northern Ireland, 32 in Scotland and 22 are in Wales.

Local government in Scotland is organized through 32 unitary authorities designated as councils [1] which consist of councillors which are elected by every four years by registered voters in each of the council areas.

It is estimated that local councils in Scotland collectively employ approximately 300,000 people, spending £16.5 billion in the process Councils receive the majority of their funding from the Scottish Government [3], through Aggregate External Finance (AEF). AEF consists of three parts Revenue Support Grants, Non-Domestic Rates, and Income and Specific Grants [4]Local councils spend the largest proportion of their budget on education services (42%) and social work services (22%). The council's other higher functions include:

• Cultural, leisure and other educational services including youth work, sports centres, libraries, museums.

• Environmental Services, including highways maintenance, car parking, public transport, waste collection and disposal

• Election Services, including organisation of all elections, maintaining the electoral register

Issues of Local Authority

Local authority involve in numerous issues which are related to the county, district council and local community. Local authorities have a statutory duty to consult community councils on planning, development and other issues directly affecting that local community. However, the community council has no direct say in the delivery of services. In many areas they do not function at all, but some work very effectively at improving their local area.

It is responsible for a range of services that your business may need to use or know about. These include collecting business rates and approving planning applications, enforcing health, safety, and environment and trading standards requirements, and issuing parking permits. Local authorities are also responsible for issuing premises licences to businesses who supply alcohol; provide entertainment or late night refreshments. Many local authorities also offer a range of business-support services to encourage economic development and regeneration. There are some main and very important issues which deal by local authorities of the country.

Town and Country Planning

Local authorities must attempt to predict the future of their respective communities, and the direction in which they ought to proceed. They must also accurately determine which measures will or will not lead to growth and to the promotion of the community's wellbeing. However, sources of revenue are limited and do not always match the requirements.

The local authority is normally local planning authority. This means that it is responsible for the making of development plans and for the control of development. The powers also incorporate responsibility for related matters, such as tree preservation orders, listed building protection, conservation areas, hazardous substances consents, control of derelict land, and the protection of the countryside. As explained above planning functions are split between county and district councils, with county councils being responsible for minerals, waste disposal matters, whilst district councils have responsibility for other development control decisions and smaller scale whole development planning in local plans. In National parks the planning function is undertaken by special planning authorities with representation of various local authorities whose area falls within the national park.

The basis of local government planning is what is known as the "comprehensive plan." This is a three-part exercise: the first is to identify the future vision of local development as the

Authority sees it; the second is the planning of specific measures to turn that vision into eality; and the third is annual fiscal planning for the implementation of such measures based on a three- to five-year budget plan. In practice, however, the three separate phases are not so clearly distinguished, and one or more (and sometimes all) are often closely integrated.

Public Health Matters

Local authorities have always had responsibility for a very wide range of matters under the public health acts. In particular, this involves duties in relation to the control of statutory nuisances, the law on which was remodelled in EPA 1990, part III. Authorities also have responsibilities for monitoring the quality of water supplies.

The control of noise

Local authorities have primary responsibility for the control of noise from premises. In the past these provisions had been separate from those relating to statutory nuisance, but in the EPA 1990 the two sets of powers were treated together.

Air Pollution

Local authorities have long had responsibility for the control of smoke, dust, grit, and fumes under clean air acts and related legislation. In the EPA 1990, part I, they were given more complete powers to control air, pollution from plants which are not the responsibility of the EA under integrated pollution control. This general split was maintained under the IPCC system under the pollution prevention and control act 1999. In addition to these specific controls over the emissions, the Environmental Act 1995 gave local authority greater responsibilities for establishing strategic control over air quality matters. This includes a duty to designate air quality management areas where those standards are not being met and a duty to prepare an action to address the problems of air quality.

Waste collection and disposal

Responsibilities for waste collection and the arrangement for the disposal of waste remain with the local authorities under the waste collection and waste disposal authorities. Local authorities also play an important role in ensuring that waste reduction and recycling targets can be achieved as they control a large portion of the waste arising at the place of production.

Contaminated land

Under part IIA, EPA 1990, local authorities are responsible for the inspection and identification of land within their area for the existence of contaminated land and to take action against the person responsible for the contamination or the owner or occupier of the land. These responsibilities are shared duties in respect of sites which are more heavily contaminated known as special sites.

General duties and sustainable development

In addition to these areas, it is clear that local and regional policies on such things as transport provision, recreation and strategic planning specifically and all of an authority's functions generally all have a part to play in the protection of the environment and the pursuit of sustainability. In the section 4 of the local government act 2000 places on all local authorities including county and district councils a duty to prepare community strategies, for promoting or improving the economic, social and environmental well-being of their areas, and contributing to the local achievement of sustainable development in the United Kingdom. It also gives authorities broad new powers to improve and promote local well being as a means of helping them to implement those strategies. In the section 4 of the act also require local authorities in England have regards to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State in preparing their community strategies.