A local path to net zero

Councils want to work as partners with government, industry and communities to tackle climate change. They are intrinsic to transitioning our places and empowering our communities and businesses to net zero future.

local path to net zero - page banner (new branding)

The government’s ambition to reach net zero by 2050 can only be achieved with decarbonisation happening in every place across the country – every household, community and local economy. This requires local leadership.

Councils are well-placed to do this as place-shapers, convenors of communities and local partners, asset-owners, problem solvers and significant purchasers. They are uniquely positioned to mobilise and join-up the collective action needed in our villages, towns and cities, and have influence over a third of emissions in their local areas.

LGA polling in February 2022 found that 72 per cent of respondents most trusted their local councils, compared to 13 per cent that most trusted Government, when it came to local decision making, 

Across the country councils are already taking a leading role in tackling the climate emergency, delivering innovative projects on the ground. However, with the resources and backing they can go further and faster.

Following the recognition in the Glasgow Climate Pact of the importance of local councils in delivering net zero, the dedicated chapter on local climate action and the role of devolved and local government to delivering national climate ambitions in the Government’s Net Zero Strategy, councils are ready to work as partners with the government on a clear and deliverable plan to accomplish this.

Councils are already taking a leading role in tackling the climate emergency, but with the right powers and resources they can go further and faster.

What we are asking for

  • Central Government to work with councils and business to establish a deliverable plan for achieving net zero in an affordable and inclusive way. The plan needs to take a systems approach to decarbonising heat and buildings.
  • The implementation of the Future Homes and Future Buildings Standards to be brought forward to ensure that developers do not build to older efficiency standards for longer than necessary.
  • The £3.8 billion Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund to be brought forward to support the rollout of an ambitious national retrofit programme which will create jobs, support local economies, cut energy bills and help tackle fuel poverty.
  • A commitment to empowering local government to be included in the updated National Determined Contributions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • The adult education budget to be restored to its 2010 levels as a minimum, to deal with the skills and capacity shortage in the retrofit sector. This should then be fully devolved to councils to deliver courses, boosting employment in the sector.

Climate change sector support programme

Alongside the majority of councils, the LGA has declared a climate emergency. As part of our sector-led support offer, we offer a wide range of resources to help councils address climate change and environmental sustainability. Visit our climate change hub to learn more.