TECHNOLOGY such as solar farms and LED street lights are already having an impact on Halton’s efforts to tackle global warming, but more money – and more powers – are going to be vital in the pursuit of a future green agenda.

Those are the views of the man who has recently taken up the role of Halton Borough Council’s first executive board member for climate change.

The council's new leader Mike Wharton created the post following his shake-up of the authority’s executive board of leaders.

And the man chosen to fill the post, Cllr Phil Harris, said he is relishing the challenge.

“It means a lot to me, as I have always had a keen interest in environmental issues and I’ve seen climate change go up and down various government agendas over the years.” He said.

Cllr Harris said local government had a ‘big role to play’ but that the government must also devolve more powers and funding to enable councils to have a bigger impact.

He added: “All tiers of government, industry and the wider community all have a role to play, not least of which is appreciating the scale of change on its way in the next decade or so. We can’t afford to be an area left behind during that change.”

He pointed to recent examples of technology being employed to boost the green agenda in Halton, including a £1.2million Widnes solar farm which is providing power to the council’s buildings.

Set up a year ago, the vast array of 3,000 solar panels at St Michael’s Golf Course is now becoming a pilot ‘eco-park’.

LED street lights are also being rolled out in Halton to reduce energy usage, along with charging points for electric vehicles.

He said: “Many millions in investment are already going into schemes, but if you consider the phasing out of combustion engines powered by petrol or diesel as just one change on the way, the next decade is going to need more investment if we are to tackle things properly.”

But the fight to tackle climate change is a national and global one, and Cllr Harris said partnership working will be key.

“I believe there are both opportunities and challenges in tackling climate change and it doesn’t stop at local government boundaries.” He said.

“We already work with neighbouring authorities on many things of mutual interest and that includes funding. We also have key partners in local industry and others to work with.

“The same applies for colleagues in the council who represent it in various roles, and of course our local MPs Derek Twigg and Mike Amesbury who represent us all in Parliament.”