decline within the next few years. In addition to the challenge of climate
change, we will soon have to contend with a rapidly growing deficit in fuels
for transport. This will cause big spikes in energy prices – including natural
gas and electricity – with potentially devastating economic and social impacts.
This has severe implications for the provision of services by local government.
This issue is usually described as ‘peak oil’. It is rarely acknowledged
by national governments, but is rapidly gaining credibility among local
authorities around the world – and on financial markets. Forecasters differ
about the exact date of the peak, but there is a growing consensus that it will
happen in the next ten years. To many experts the soaring price of crude
suggests that we may be at peak oil now.
The purpose of this report is to summarize which local authorities are doing
what, and to draw together the most promising policies for tackling peak
oil, so that all British local authorities can benefit from best practices being
developed both at home and abroad