The impact of local climate action can be enormous, and councils are united in the call for devolved approaches that realise this potential.
Tackling climate change is one of the biggest threats facing our communities and ranks high in peoples’ priorities. Eight in 10 people are concerned by it, three quarters want to deliver net zero by 2050, and half want to bring that target forward. Councils recognise the urgency and scale of this challenge, with over 300 declaring climate emergencies.
Councils have some impact on over 80 per cent of an areas’ emissions, and direct impact over a third of emissions given their central role in housing, transport and energy. While national action is essential in setting the framework and taking the big decisions, the complexity of transition in our 51 cities, 935 towns and 6,000 villages cannot be managed from a desk in Whitehall.
The impact can be enormous. The Government’s own research found that local climate action would achieve net zero by 2050 for half the cost of national approach and deliver three times the financial returns and wider benefits.
Local government is united in the call for devolved approaches that realises this potential. But unfortunately, it is still unclear how councils fit into the national plan for net zero. Councils receive no core funding for climate action, and are forced to compete for short-term pots of funding that come and go over time, taking up resources and creating uncertainty. We want to bring local and national government together to back local climate action, by:
- Putting in place a national climate action framework with policy, regulatory, and investment certainty up to 2050, with set milestones and a clear role for councils leading local climate action.
- Providing all councils with adequate and stable core funding to take forward climate action across their own services and multi-year place-based funding allocations to lead decarbonisation across their areas
- Introducing a local climate action test ensuring all government policy and funding decisions – from housing to skills - contribute to local climate action.
Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health and the choices made today will reverberate for hundreds of years.
Councils are ready to play their full role in leading local climate action to hit net zero and adapt to change.
In words, all partners prioritise local climate action. In practice, there is a need to take that action.