In a blog for BBC’s Green Room, filmmaker Lord Puttnam has said that the government is overlooking the role of individuals and local communities in meeting emissions targets.

Lord Puttnam praised secretary for energy and climate change Ed Miliband’s pledge to up the UK’s 2050 targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 60% to 80%, but claimed the government must engage with the public more, describing them as “a rich, untapped force.”

Puttnam said: “There is a pressing need to understand how we can draw on the drive of local communities to reduce CO2 emissions. This means not just focusing on innovation in science and technology but also on the innovative ways communities can work together and with other partners, to deliver tangible solutions to climate change.”

Lord Puttnam suggested that engaging the public on the issue of climate change was often perceived as “politically high risk”, and therefore a subject governments often appeared to shrink from.

However, Puttnam also claimed that the current economic downturn and rising fuel costs made sustainability a far more sensible approach.

Lord Puttnam is the chairman of the parliamentary joint committee on the draft climate change bill.