Net zero strategy and support: Research report

As the UK nears the next general election, it is important to capture local council officer’s views of how central government is supporting their authorities. This report provides details on officers’ views of how central government is assisting council’s climate change policy and the delivery of net zero locally.

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Key findings 

  • Seventy-two per cent of respondents stated their council has a net zero target for the authority itself. 
  • Seventy per cent reported that their council has a net zero target for the area as a whole. 
  • Ninety-seven per cent of councils had an official target for reaching net zero for either or both the local authority itself and for the area as a whole. 
  • Sixty-seven per cent of councils were very or fairly unconfident their local authority will achieve its net zero targets within the timescales set out in its strategy. 
  • Forty per cent of respondents said not at all when asked to what extent has central government’s overall work with their local council on net zero given them confidence of achieving a ‘just transition’. 
  • Forty-six per cent reported they were not at all confident, and a further 46 per cent only confident to a small extent, that there was a sufficiently clear and scaled financing plan to deliver central government’s commitment to achieve net zero by 2050. 
  • Ninety per cent disagreed that the funding schemes currently available for local government to help achieve net zero allowed their council to sufficiently fund their net zero strategy locally. 
  • Seventy-six per cent of respondents strongly or tend to have agreed that their council is concerned by the impact of inflation on the deliverability of projects within the restrictions set by a national scheme. 
  • Sixty-one per cent agreed that their council has, at least once, been dissuaded from submitting bids into funds due to the investment needed to develop proposals. 
  • Forty-three per cent of councils have, at least once, had to return funding to government due to being unable to deliver projects within the restrictions set by a national scheme. 
  • Fifty per cent of councils generally feel successful in bidding into national funding pots. 
  • Total awareness of Your Local Net Zero Hub, Heat Networks Delivery Unit, Active Travel England, and the Office for Net Zero Emissions was between 80 and 90 per cent. Sixty-two per cent of respondents were aware of Net Zero Go. 
  • Fifty-two per thought that central government’s non-financial support was sufficient to a small extent and a further 16 per cent said it was not at all sufficient

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