Out of the 333 local councils present in England, over 300 of them have called a climate emergency. With many already working towards net zero, with aims and targets that are 10 to 15 years ahead of the UK Government’s 2050 net zero target.

Councils alone produce an average of 16,000 to 20,000 tonnes of emissions each year, increasing tenfold to 200,000 tonnes if their scope 3 emissions are added too. Adding the emissions of a local council’s constituents’ place-based emissions, the total emissions can rise to anywhere between 2 to 4 million tonnes.

Our local councils are already showing us that they have the ambition to drive change. To do this fully, our local councils need to focus on outcomes that will make positive impacts on the communities they work to improve.

Investment is one of the biggest hurdles for local councils, as decarbonising to reach net zero can cost an area hundreds of thousands of pounds, and in areas such as Birmingham or Manchester this could cost millions.

In many areas throughout England, private investment needs to reach 10 times more than what the public sector can provide. Therefore, local councils need to work with the public and organisations in their local communities to create a wider approach for change. Creating these connections can increase much needed investment and collaboration, as well as health, social, economic, and environmental benefits. With the overall aim to transition to a greener economy.

Local councils need to work
with the public and organisations in their
local communities.

When councils work to attract this investment, and social, economic, and environmental outcomes are considered, there is an increased chance for positive, sustainable change. With this investment there is a greater chance of decarbonisation occurring on a larger scale when compared to other regenerative schemes. The improvements that the community will benefit from, will also benefit future generations to come.

Local councils need to make sure that they are seeing sustainable change as an opportunity for growth, socially, economically, and environmentally. Ambition needs to grow within local councils and communities, if the UK wishes to have a successful transition to a green economy.