Local Councils & Climate Emergency

Since Bristol declared in November 2018 over 260 councils have declared climate emergencies with ‘net-zero targets’ from 2028 (Nottingham) to beyond 2050. The most common is 2030. Parliament declared a Climate Emergency in May 2019 and the government amended the Climate Change Act target to a legally-binding ‘net-zero-carbon by 2050’. Even if councils do not declare a more ambitious target they will still have to participate in achieving the national target of net-zero by 2050 and will need a plan. 

Everything comes within the compass of climate change. This is an opportunity to re-imagine the way we do everything. If combined with a good Climate Emergency Plan of Action, the Declarations have the opportunity to galvanise action within the council and in the community. Community energy can be indispensable to both; it is key that community energy features, with justifications, in those plans even if community energy does not yet exist in that area. 

There are huge opportunities to solve many problems in the process of achieving a zero-carbon authority and/or local area, including increased health, better air, resource efficiency, reduced operating costs, more resilient communities and more. This is useful for advocating for action with a local authority.

Climateemergency.uk has a full list of councils which have declared a Climate Emergency and information to help you get your council to declare.

Friends of the Earth’s assessment of how each council is doing on addressing Climate Change.

Here is a briefing from the Extinction Rebellion (XR) Climate and Ecological Emergency group on how to support, encourage and force councils to declare and agree to XR demands including for a Citizens’ Assembly. They have produced an excellent follow-on briefing to make sure that Declarations are meaningful and have teeth. It has sections on energy as well as housing.

See the Ashden toolkit on the co-benefits of climate action and their 31 top actions for councils

The Grantham Institute at Imperial College has also produced a briefing paper.

Bristol Energy Network, Bristol City Council and Community Energy England created a practical toolkit to help community groups and local authorities to help them understand each other better and to provide ideas for how to work together and harness the power of local energy.

Regen has created a report on local leadership to transform our energy system and a case study on Bristol Energy Smart System Transformation

Community Energy South and Essex Council created a Community Energy Pathway to help support the growth of community energy in Essex

Centre for Sustainable Energy and Midlands Energy Hub are developing a tool that will enable parish councils and local communities to estimate baseline carbon emissions for their area. This will be calculated using information about energy use, travel behaviours and the consumption of goods and services modelled at household level and scaled up to better reflect individual communities.

CLES produced a resource that explains how to make a local economy work for the area in an equitable way.

Transitions Network’s produced an essential guide on starting from scratch.

The Council of Worthing and Adur has produced a progressive plan with 2030 as the target date for net zero. 

Documents & Downloads