Councils spearheading national climate change effort

To mark Earth Day, the Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, is highlighting impressive new statistics that shine a light on the work councils are doing.


Photo of green and clear empty plastic bottles

Councils continue to be at the forefront of the national response to climate change and have been working hard to put plans into action to help achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner.

From waste collection and transport, to electric vehicles and parks, councils are taking huge steps to cut carbon emissions and protect our environment.

To mark Earth Day, the Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, is highlighting impressive new statistics that shine a light on the work councils are doing. They include:

  • In 2019/20, councils collected over 15.5 million tonnes of waste and recycling, reusing or composting – this is the equivalent to almost 1.2 million double decker buses;
  • Reducing food waste has saved UK citizens over £1 billion per year compared to 2015 according to a WRAP report
  • Councils have installed over 17,000 electric vehicle charging devices across England - that’s three times higher than the number of car dealerships in the UK;
  • In 2019/20, councils in England spent just under £40 million on defences for flooding;
  • Councils are responsible for an estimated 27,000 parks and green spaces, vital areas in our towns and cities that help us revitalise and stay healthy;
  • Councils spent an average of over £125 on environmental services per person in 2019/20.

Cllr David Renard, Environment spokesperson for the LGA, said:

“The climate challenge really does impact every aspect of our lives and subsequently, every aspect of our local authorities.

“Councils are working hard towards net-zero carbon emissions. Waste collections are getting increasingly more efficient and recycling rates over the past decade show that people really do care. We’ve also seen council investment in flood defences, electric vehicle infrastructure and parks and green spaces, which create cleaner air in our communities and thriving habitats for wildlife.

“There is still a long way to go in our work to protect our planet, but councils will continue to lead local efforts to become more environmentally conscious.”

Notes to editor

  1. House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee Public park report 2016/17 estimates there to be more than 27,000 parks in the United Kingdom
  2. WRAP found that changing habits and reducing food waste has saved UK citizens £1 billion a year, with total food waste levels falling by 480,000 tonnes between 2015 and 2018.
  3. LG Inform

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