Net Zero Innovation Programme

The Net Zero Innovation Programme develops partnerships of researchers and climate change officers from councils across all English regions and supports them in tackling the climate emergency.

Climate change hub

Delivered through a collaboration between the Local Government Association (LGA) and University College London (UCL), the Net Zero Innovation Programme brings together councils, universities and other stakeholders to address climate and sustainability challenges at the local level and seeks routes to achieve council’s net zero, adaptation and biodiversity commitments.


Net Zero Innovation Programme: an introductory video

Video transcript

We are living in a climate emergency. According to the United Nations, the world is now warming faster than at any point in recorded history. Local councils want to find solutions to meet their net zero objectives by 2050.

But how can councils achieve this ambitious target when significant barriers and competing pressures exist? Academics also want to be part of this local solution. They are eager to use their knowledge and expertise to take action.

Yet when researchers are time and resource poor, the road to evidence-based action is not always clear. This is where the LGA-UCL Net Zero Innovation
Programme comes in, or NZIP for short.

The programme joins up councils and academics to tackle local climate challenges together. It provides the time, space, funding and support to cohorts of researchers and local council officers to build relationships, improve council capacity around climate change action plans, and test evidence based solutions for local net zero challenges.

24 partners from across England have already participated in the programme, tackling issues ranging from procurement tools to measure and reduce emissions, to active travel tools, and developing health policy that responds to climate
impacts. And it's not only those involved that benefit: the programme is committed to scaling the learning and resources across all councils.

87 per cent of attendees at the NZIP showcase said that they would be likely to use the tools and learning shared by the programme in their action to become net zero by 2050.

NZIP helps to create long-term sustainable relationships between academics and local councils to deliver climate action plans and make meaningful change.

To find out more about our programme, visit the link on screen.


The Net Zero Innovation Programme 2022/23 Cohort 

Broadland District Council

University

University of East Anglia

Local climate challenge being addressed

Quantify the value of local green spaces for storing carbon as an 'offsetting' solution.

Contact information

a.minns@uea.ac.uk

annie.sommazzi@southnorfolkandbroadland.gov.uk

Dacorum Borough Council

University

University of Bedfordshire

Local climate challenge being addressed

Renovating social housing to be more thermally efficient without creating condensation issues.

Contact information

Robert.smith@dacorum.gov.uk

David.Jazani@beds.ac.uk

Derby City Council

University

University of Derby

Local climate challenge being addressed

Preparing for climate extremes and reducing energy demand in the care home sector.

Contact information

c.sansom@derby.ac.uk

andy.hills@derby.gov.uk

Devon County Council

University

Plymouth University & University of Exeter

Local climate challenge being addressed

Evaluating the consequence of (agricultural) river pollution for greenhouse gas emission targets.

Contact information

a.r.huke@exeter.ac.uk

keri.denton@devon.gov.uk

paul.hardman@plymouth.ac.uk

Hertsmere Borough Council

University 

University of Hertfordshire

Local climate challenge being addressed

Quantifying carbon in the planning process for the local built environment.

Contact information

l.jankovic@herts.ac.uk

Sarika.Jain@hertsmere.gov.uk

Leicestershire County Council

University

University of Leicester

Local climate challenge being addressed

Working out how to encourage behaviour change in people who are unaware of/disinterested in the climate.

Contact information

mpp2@le.ac.uk

michael.suddens@leics.gov.uk

City of Lincoln Council

University

University of Lincoln

Local climate challenge being addressed

Monitoring biodiversity gains and carbon sequestration in local habitat.

Contact information

KFathulla@lincoln.ac.uk

kate.bell@lincoln.gov.uk

London Borough of Islington

University

City University

Local climate challenge being addressed

Utilising urban dead spaces to grow food.

Contact information

christian.reynolds@city.ac.uk

maryanne.cooper@islington.gov.uk

London Borough of Merton

University

University College London

Local climate challenge being addressed

Improving the material and energy-efficiency of high streets to help them thrive.

Contact information

b.croxford@ucl.ac.uk

amy.mallett@merton.gov.uk

thewheel@sustainablemerton.org

Spelthorne Borough Council

University

The Open University

Local climate challenge being addressed

Finding ways to involve residents & the public in local policymaking decisions.

Contact information

andrea.berardi@open.ac.uk

S.Muirhead@spelthorne.gov.uk

West Suffolk Council

University

University of Suffolk

Local climate challenge being addressed

Tracking and measuring the carbon sequestration of local tree planting.

Contact information

d.newport@uos.ac.uk

elysia.scully@westsuffolk.gov.uk

Surrey County Council

University

University of Surrey

Local climate challenge being addressed

Adapting the built environment for extreme heat events.

Contact information

p.kumar@surrey.ac.uk

sarah.birch@surreycc.gov.uk


Podcast series: Together towards net zero

During the first cohort of the programme in 2020/21, UCL and the LGA recorded and released a number of podcast episodes documenting the process which partnerships went through. These demonstrate the benefits to local areas through partnership working and the challenges faced. You can stream episodes via the links below.

Case studies

Below you can read case studies from past programmes, demonstrating successful partnership working between councils and universities.

Blogs

Below are links to relevant blogs which you may find useful.


The Net Zero Innovation Programme: An infographic explainer

A history of the Net Zero Innovation Programme. A long description is below this image.
An explanation of the Net Zero Innovation Programme. Long description is below.

 

Long description of Net Zero Innovation Programme infographic

The LGA-UCL Net Zero Innovation Programme

The Net Zero Innovation Programme (NZIP) partners councils and academics to solve local climate problems together. Here’s our journey so far...

Partners: In the past two years, NZIP has worked with 24 partnerships from across England and a range of council and university types.

Space and time: Project teams were given the space and time to think, experiment and create interventions that really improve climate outcomes locally.

Partnership building: The programme was an opportunity to build partnerships that lead to real world outcomes and action for impact.

Sustained relationships: 11 out of 12 partners from year one continue to work together to accelerate local climate action as a result of being part of the programme.

Meaningful change: 100 per cent of participants agreed that being involved in the programme helped them to address the climate emergency in their area.

Tools: Partnerships developed solutions ranging from procurement tools to measure and reduce carbon emissions, to tools that support policy decision making in response to climate impacts on health. You can see all the projects developed through the programme by visiting our website.

Widespread learning: Partnerships are encouraged to continue to develop and share their learning to cascade impacts across councils.

NZIP Explained

Councils are declaring climate emergencies. According to the United Nations, the world is warming. faster than at any point in recorded history. 

Local councils want to find solutions to making areas carbon net zero by 2050. How do councils deliver on carbon reduction targets? Create and execute Climate Action Plans? Source funding, capacity and capability for change?

Universities also want to take action, and find evidence-based solutions. Yet, local policy engagement efforts are disjointed and poorly supported beyond the hyper-local. How can universities help?

Immediate, medium and long-term support is needed to connect councils and universities and scale-up solutions across local authorities.

The Programme

This is where the LGA-UCL Net Zero Innovation Programme comes in. The programme works with councils and academics to solve local climate problems together. It does this by:

Riding in tandem: Inviting councils and universities to work together to identify a specific climate problem in their area.

Putting in the miles: Consolidating and scaling learning through producing a real-world project.

Wheels to keep riding: Offering mentorship and support throughout delivery to bolster its effectiveness and continue sustainable partnership building.

Overcoming rough terrain: Building capacity to work together equipping them with tools to address this problem and facilitate collaboration.

Pedalling further: Providing funding to tackle the issue and start delivering a scalable solution.