By autumn 2020, 75 per cent of local authorities in England had declared a climate emergency, demonstrating their determination to act on the climate crisis. But they are held back from doing so by a lack of long term funding, resources and support from central government.
But local authorities are best placed to support local people, communities and businesses to make the local changes necessary to reduce emissions and tackle climate change. They also have responsibilities for transport and housing, two of the highest emitting sectors. With high levels of public trust, we argue that a new approach is needed in which local authorities are seen by government as crucial partners in the drive to achieve the national net zero goal.
Our recommendations were developed working with six local authorities who are leaders in climate action. We also feature anonymised interviews with representatives of 12 other authorities, to hear directly the challenges they are facing.