Areas with ambitious plans to encourage the adoption of greener vehicles will be able to achieve a new "Ultra Low City" status, allowing them to bid for £35m in Government money, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has announced.
The funding is part of a £500m package designed to boost the UK's ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) industry and support the uptake of electric cars among the public between 2015 and 2020.
Clegg said that cities achieving the new status could use incentives such as allowing drivers of ULEVs to use bus lanes or offering them free parking.
Local government secretary Eric Pickles has been accused of being "anti-localism" after extending his ability to call in plans for onshore wind farms for another 12 months.
Pickles had originally announced powers to call in applications for six months to scrutinise the impact of planning guidance stating that the need for renewable energy does not automatically override environmental protections and community concerns.
The City of London is rolling out new technology that will allow LED street lighting to be turned on and off or dimmed remotely in real time.
The Z-LYNK system from Energy Assets uses the electricity network to send commands to receivers, allowing any switchable device to be controlled online. As a result, it does not suffer from the "urban canyon" effect where buildings interfere with radio signals. Each receiver is programmable using near field communication to respond to up to 10 commands.
Local government is increasingly recognised as "critical" to advancing climate change adaptation, according to major new report from the UN warning that the impact of global warming is likely to be "severe, pervasive and irreversible".
The assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that the effects of climate change are already being seen across all continents and oceans, but in many cases the world is ill-prepared for the risks they bring.