With help from Friends of the Earth and CDP we have launched our 31 Climate Actions for Councils. This resource, for councils and local authorities, demonstrates what climate actions would best benefit their area – both for people and planet. The impact behind the data is what the 31 actions are built on – the co-benefits of climate action.  

Councillor Claire Holland, Deputy Leader of the Council (Environment and Clean Air) in Lambeth said “I am not going to lie; it has felt huge. Overwhelming at times. I wanted someone to give me a handbook and say ‘great you have declared a climate emergency, here is the list of actions you now need to take, which is why this resource form Ashden and Friends of the Earth is welcome.

“We spent the first 6 months of last year shifting the culture of the organization so that staff and councillors understood that this affects all of our work.  That this is not just something for our Sustainability Team.

“We have to bring people with us. We know that effects of climate change disproportionately impact our most disadvantaged communities. And it is essential we don’t exacerbate that inequality.”

The 31 actions can be viewed graphically, and councillors, sustainability officers – anyone with an interest in carbon-saving data - can delve into the data provided in the spreadsheet too. This is built on a ‘town’ of 100,000 residents and can be extrapolated to fit the size of any town or city.

Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich and West Norwood said, “It is a brilliant document providing a really practical guide to help councils to identify the actions they can take to reduce carbon emissions.
In 2020, we should be talking about a decade of progress and how to build on it, but instead we currently stand to exceed both the 4th and 5th carbon budgets, with preparation for COP26 which we are hosting in a state of disarray.

Citizens are putting climate change at the top of the political agenda, creating a democratic mandate for change – as local councils we can lead the way.

“Both citizens and councils are limited in the action they can take in the face of such an enormous challenge, and they both need leadership and resources from local government. Leadership in the form of policy and legislation and public spending.

“Leadership also comes in the form of empowering local government – we need a national framework and to give local councils the freedom to work even more closely with their communities and to commit resources accordingly.”

These 31 actions will allow local authorities to address the climate emergency whilst addressing inequality at the same time – fundamental if we are going to succeed.     

News update: A coalition of councils and NGOs have written to the chancellor to urge him to prioritise the environment in his first Budget - and say that 'councils are uniquely well placed to help the Government meet its carbon emissions reduction targets.'