Local Sustainability Action on the COP28 Goals and Themes: webinar blog

On Monday 4 December 2023 the Local Government Association (LGA) held a virtual event Local Sustainability Action on the COP28 Goals and Themes seizing the moment during this year's COP conference to shine a spotlight on local councils' notable sustainability practices.

Various councils shared their innovative solutions, aligning with the four cross-cutting themes of COP28: Technology and Innovation, Inclusion, Frontline Communities, and Finance.

The event was chaired by: Julie Greaves, Head of Sustainability at Hertfordshire County Council

We also heard from:

  • Nick Porter, Local Government Association
  • Izzy Maher & Elliott Grimshaw, Lancaster City Council
  • Joshua Pledge, Westminster City Council
  • Carole Randall, Essex County Council

Chair Julie Greaves, Head of Sustainability at Hertfordshire County Council, set the stage for a day of reflection, exploration, and learning. The virtual event, delivered as part of the LGA's Sustainability Programme, is made possible through collaboration with the Crown Commercial Service.

COP28 Cross-Cutting Themes

The COP28 conference, currently hosted in the UAE, emphasizes four key cross-cutting themes that underpin effective delivery across the international climate and sustainability agenda. These themes, Technology and Innovation, Inclusion, Frontline Communities, and Finance, served as focal points for event discussions.

Nick Porter - Overview of COP28

Nick Porter, Senior Policy Advisor at the Local Government Association, provided an overview of current trends in the net-zero space for local government. He shared emerging intel from COP28 and highlighted outputs from the Climate Survey Part 1 and YouGov poll commissioned by the LGA. Additionally, he addressed the key themes of the conference.

Izzy Maher & Elliott Grimshaw - Technology and Innovation

Representing Lancaster City Council, Izzy Maher delved into the Co-Wheels Car Scheme, showcasing how the initiative contributes to corporate net-zero goals. Elliott Grimshaw presented on the Salt Ayre Leisure Centre decarbonisation. Their presentation covered implementation, efficiency, carbon savings, and stability, offering valuable insights for other councils aiming to adopt sustainable technology and innovation.

Joshua Pledge - Finance

Joshua Pledge, Special Projects Manager at Westminster City Council, provided an overview of the Green Investment Fund, a successful initiative that raised £1 million for green projects in the community. Joshua shared the council's approach to sustainability innovation and green finance, offering tips for collaboration with stakeholders and reflections on the journey so far.

Carole Randall - Inclusion/Frontline Communities

Carole Randall, Energy & Low Carbon Project Development Officer at Essex County Council, presented the council's approach to empowering communities and residents to overcome barriers to net zero and energy innovation. She discussed the strategy's development, its impact on decarbonisation targets, and the lessons learned, providing valuable insights for councils aiming to foster inclusion and engage frontline communities.

Panel Discussion and Q&A

The event concluded with a 25-minute panel discussion, allowing attendees to engage with the speakers and pose questions. This interactive session encouraged collaboration, idea sharing, and further exploration of sustainable practices. Presentations can be found on the LGA Past event presentations page

Question: To Lancaster City Council regarding Salt Ayre Leisure Centre decarbonisation

Do you have rooftop solar PV? What were the issues experienced with battery storage?


We already have solar PV on the roof, but there isn't enough to power the leisure centre. We own the landfill site next door and due to the 'landfill cap' there's little else that can be done with the land. This makes it a perfect site for renewables.

In relation to the battery: Due to grid constraints in our area, the maximum installed capacity is 1MW. Currently, batteries are classified as 'generators' and included in the installed capacity. This means we had to remove it.

Question: To Lancaster City Council regarding Salt Ayre Leisure Centre decarbonisation

How is your dashboard data updated?


The dashboard synchronises with our fuel and energy management systems. This happens on a monthly basis and we're also working to feed in our renewable energy data.

Question: To Essex County Council

How did you secure £250m. Is this Council CIF / RIF or mix of secured private investment?

Answer: The funding comes from core funds


What is the devolution & national model investment and return cost?


Details can be found here: Back Local Climate Action: further information

UK R&I: Tailoring low-carbon measures brings economic and social benefits


The LGA's virtual event serves as a space for reflection and exploration into replicable and scalable sustainability solutions. By learning from the experiences of councils actively addressing COP28 themes, local authorities can gain inspiration and practical insights for their own sustainability projects. As the world navigates the challenges of climate change, collaboration at the local level becomes increasingly vital for effective and lasting change.