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Partners for Climate Protection

Milestone 3

Developing a local action plan

A Local Action Plan (LAP) is a strategic document that outlines how your municipality will achieve its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target.

The LAP covers municipal operations and the community. Municipal governments are encouraged to first develop and implement a plan for municipal operations. In doing so, they demonstrate leadership and provide a positive example for the community.

A community-wide LAP is more complex to develop and implement, as it requires input and co-ordination from many stakeholders, such as citizens' groups, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. The reduction potential from the community at large, however, is significantly greater than from municipal operations.

Elements of a Local Action Plan

A LAP includes the following information for both municipal operations and the community:

1. Input from the public

  • Recommendations from public and private sector groups, as well as from individuals, on specific measures they would like to include in the LAP. This input can be gathered through meetings and/or public consultations.

2. Results

  • Baseline emissions inventory data (Milestone One) 
  • The emissions forecast (Milestone One) 
  • The emissions reduction target (Milestone Two)

3. Actions

  • Existing emissions reduction measures that will continue 
  • New or proposed emissions reduction measures

4. Implementation strategies

  • Details on costs, responsibilities, schedules, and funding sources 
  • Plans to monitor the progress made towards the emissions reduction target and the implementation status of GHG reduction measures 
  • Consider integrating your GHG plans with Air Quality and Community Energy plans

Actions required

Establish a formal organizational structure

Most municipalities will set up a formal organizational structure to oversee the LAP. In some communities, the structure evolves from an informal bottom-up approach and, in others, it is established formally from the outset. In general, larger municipalities require a more formal organizational structure.

Review the document entitled "Six Steps to a Sustainable Community: A Guide to Local Action Planning".This document will guide you through the stakeholder engagement process, based on lessons learned from various municipalities. Stakeholder engagement is critical to LAP development, and the community's ownership of the plan can help ensure its long-term success.

In many cases, municipal staff could develop a LAP using their accumulated knowledge and experience, but the lack of community ownership would make effective implementation unlikely. Methods must be found to foster community ownership at the planning stage because, ultimately, the community will deliver the plan.

Review data

Use your municipality's GHG inventory and forecast to identify opportunities for action, i.e., the sectors, facilities or operations that will achieve the greatest reductions in emissions.

Identify GHG reductions

Once you have examined opportunities for action, identify existing programs and projects that have resulted in a reduction in GHG emissions since the baseline year, even if they were not established for this purpose. Many such programs may have been created initially to save money, increase energy efficiency, reduce solid waste or improve local air quality. For example, energy-efficient building retrofits, and carpool and recycling programs all reduce GHG emissions. These programs could be expanded or enhanced to achieve further emissions reductions.

Consider emissions sources

Consider new projects that may increase emissions, such as a new community centre or the construction of a new housing development. Determine if these projects can be modified to minimize their impact on emissions growth.

Page Updated: 21/12/2015