How local councils are acting on climate


These council case studies explore the impacts, benefits and resources needed to tackle climate change locally. Share with your local authority to galvanise change, from reducing landfill waste to protecting nature.

While Friends of the Earth supports these specific projects, this doesn't always extend to the councils' wider environmental policies.

Energy


How Islington is supporting vulnerable people and ensuring warm homes

17 Nov 2022

Islington Council has created a joined-up network of services that aim to support vulnerable Londoners facing fuel poverty. This case study relates to Actions 11 and 14 of the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils. Action 11 includes identifying people most at risk of fuel poverty and targeting policies, actions and spending towards them, while Action 14 involves helping owner-occupied and fuel-poor homes be more energy efficient, for example via insulation.

Fracking in England: FAQs

21 Oct 2022

The government is attempting to revive the fracking industry. Below we debunk fracking as a solution to the energy crisis. We also answer some key questions about the impact of fracking on the countryside, the climate and jobs, as well as the risks it poses to public health and the local environment.

How Lancaster is aligning its Local Plan with the climate emergency

21 Oct 2022

Lancaster City Council has conducted a prompt review of its Local Plan to ensure the policies it contains will help tackle the climate crisis. Aligning plans, policies and guidance with climate targets forms part of Action 5 in the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils.

How Dundee Council is boosting renewable energy and jobs

08 Sep 2022

Adapting to renewable energy needs a workforce with the skills to make the change, but the current green skills gap around the country shows an urgent need for training. Read how Dundee City Council is addressing this through greater investment and innovation in renewable energy systems, and by providing training. Supporting the development of renewable energy and providing skills training for local workers forms Action 33 of the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils.

How Stroud council is encouraging renewables in its Local Plan

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Stroud District Council is encouraging renewables in its Local Plan. Growing renewable energy generation by identifying suitable areas in the Local Plan is part of Action 29 in the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils.

How South Lakeland helps small businesses to cut carbon emissions

08 Sep 2022

Learn how South Lakeland District Council's business support initiatives are targeting a green recovery from coronavirus, and help small businesses to cut carbon emissions. Fostering a green economy is one of 50 climate actions for councils, under Action 43, to provide particular support to small and medium-sized enterprises to access funds and expertise, so they can recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, contribute to carbon pollution reduction, nature restoration and the growth of the green economy.

How Waltham Forest has divested pensions out of fossil fuels

23 Nov 2022

Learn how Waltham Forest has divested pensions out of fossil fuels and is switching to green investments. Divesting all investments from fossil fuels, including any pension funds, and investing in renewable energy projects instead is Action 35 of the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils.

How Cambridgeshire Council is raising revenue with solar farms

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Cambridgeshire County Council is developing successful solar farms. Using less fossil fuel-derived energy forms part of Action 31 of the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils: to reduce the energy used by the council in its own estate.

How Warrington invested in renewable energy with Community Municipal Bonds

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Warrington Borough Council has raised money from local climate bonds for low-carbon infrastructure, to speed up carbon emissions reductions and increase resilience to the pandemic. The use of Community Municipal Investments is one of 50 climate actions for councils, under Action 8.

How North East Derbyshire upgraded council homes and tackled fuel poverty

08 Sep 2022

How North East Derbyshire District Council upgraded hundreds of hard-to-treat council homes – lowering emissions and tackling fuel poverty. Retrofitting council-owned properties with heat pumps and high levels of insulation where possible is Action 13 in the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils.

Buildings


How Islington is supporting vulnerable people and ensuring warm homes

17 Nov 2022

Islington Council has created a joined-up network of services that aim to support vulnerable Londoners facing fuel poverty. This case study relates to Actions 11 and 14 of the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils. Action 11 includes identifying people most at risk of fuel poverty and targeting policies, actions and spending towards them, while Action 14 involves helping owner-occupied and fuel-poor homes be more energy efficient, for example via insulation.

How Lancaster is aligning its Local Plan with the climate emergency

21 Oct 2022

Lancaster City Council has conducted a prompt review of its Local Plan to ensure the policies it contains will help tackle the climate crisis. Aligning plans, policies and guidance with climate targets forms part of Action 5 in the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils.

How Cornwall Council uses a simple tool to make decisions

08 Sep 2022

Discover how Cornwall Council used a simple, locally-tailored tool to check the social and planetary impact of its plans and guide decision-making right across the council. Checking whether council decisions would help or hinder climate action forms part of Action 1 of the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils.

How Cotswold District Council appointed climate champions

23 May 2022

Learn how Cotswold District Council appointed climate champions to make more progress on climate goals. Appointing climate champions is Action 2 in the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils: identify both a councillor at a cabinet-level and a lead officer as Climate and Nature Champions, who are required to publish a twice-yearly independent and audited public report on progress in meeting climate change and nature targets.

How Manchester will boost jobs, improve housing and cut emissions

23 May 2022

Learn how Greater Manchester’s smart energy plan will improve energy performance and lower carbon emissions. This plan forms part of 50 climate actions for councils under Action 19, to develop a heating and energy efficiency strategy for the area, including providing skills and training to increase local employment to aid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Reading uses planning to deliver new zero-carbon homes

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Reading Borough Council is using planning to ensure new homes are built to zero-carbon standards. This requirement forms part of 50 climate actions for councils under Action 16, to require through Local Plan policies that new housing development is zero carbon by 2025, including the incorporation of renewable energy in the development, using low carbon materials, and building to extremely high energy-efficient standards (higher than current national standards) using the Passivhaus standard or similar.

How Barnsley's pioneering community energy scheme tackled fuel poverty

23 May 2022

Learn how Barnsley's community energy scheme tackled fuel poverty among older people and helped fund neighbourhood projects. Installing local renewable energy sources in council developments and within private and public sector developments is part of Action 32 in the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils.

How Hastings is cutting energy use and combatting fuel poverty

23 May 2022

Learn how Hastings Borough Council has partnered with other East Sussex councils to help low-income residents become more energy efficient. Increasing the energy efficiency of homes is Action 14 of the 50-point Climate Action Plan for councils.

How South Gloucestershire Council raised £1.5m from housebuilding

08 Sep 2022

Learn how South Gloucestershire Council raised £1.5 million from a housebuilding levy to fund climate infrastructure improvements. Using a housebuilding levy is Action 9 in the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils: use legal and planning mechanisms such as Section 106 agreements, the Community Infrastructure Levy, and other mechanisms to fund climate actions and nature restoration projects.

How landlord engagement and licensing created warmer homes in Liverpool

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Liverpool City Council created warmer homes, by engaging with landlords and introducing a new five-year selective licensing designation. This case study relates to Actions 10 and 15 of the Climate Action Plan. Action 10 is to implement licensing of the private rented sector to cover the enforcement costs of ensuring compliance with minimum energy efficiency standards (applicable in England only). Action 15 is to rapidly enforce minimum energy efficiency standards in the private rented sector and encourage landlords to insulate homes to a higher EPC level.

How North East Derbyshire upgraded council homes and tackled fuel poverty

08 Sep 2022

How North East Derbyshire District Council upgraded hundreds of hard-to-treat council homes – lowering emissions and tackling fuel poverty. Retrofitting council-owned properties with heat pumps and high levels of insulation where possible is Action 13 in the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils.

How York Council is building 600 zero-carbon homes

08 Sep 2022

Read how City of York Council is building 600 zero-carbon homes, using the innovative Passivhaus approach as part of their Climate Action Plan. Zero carbon homes form part of Action 18 in the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils – require buildings on council land to be extremely energy efficient, using the Passivhaus standard or similar.

Climate vulnerability


Fracking in England: FAQs

21 Oct 2022

The government is attempting to revive the fracking industry. Below we debunk fracking as a solution to the energy crisis. We also answer some key questions about the impact of fracking on the countryside, the climate and jobs, as well as the risks it poses to public health and the local environment.

Why Kingston is backing the climate action Blueprint

08 Sep 2022

Learn why Kingston council is backing the climate action Blueprint that calls for more powers and resources for local councils. Supporting the Blueprint is Action 50, along with 49 other actions councils can take to act on climate.

How Dundee is focusing climate action on helping people most at risk

23 May 2022

Find out how Dundee City Council is developing climate policies by prioritising residents most at risk of extreme weather events and fuel poverty. Prioritising those most at risk is one of 50 climate actions for councils, under Action 11.

How Blaenau Gwent involved its community in climate action decisions

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Blaenau Gwent set up a citizens assembly for £50,000 and made sure local people have a say on climate decisions in Wales. Listening to local people forms Action 6 in the 50-point Climate Action Plan for councils – review and improve how we involve citizens in our existing decision-making processes.

How Hull co-designed flood defences with residents

23 May 2022

Find out how Hull City Council ensured the opinions of vulnerable communities were used to help co-design much-needed flood defences in the city. This approach forms part of 50 climate actions for councils, under Action 12, to ensure that the voices of the most vulnerable communities are also represented in council decision-making and council-citizen deliberations.

Transport


How Southwark council is cutting cars and boosting health

23 May 2022

Reducing car use and encouraging active travel can help reduce emissions and lower pollution levels. With funding from a local health trust, Southwark Borough Council is taking measures to encourage active travel and support areas most affected by child obesity and poor air quality. Reducing car use forms part of Action 23 of the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils.

How regional transport bodies can boost low-carbon travel

08 Sep 2022

Learn how regional transport bodies can boost low-carbon travel. Ensuring the Sub-national Transport Body strategy is in line with carbon budgets, is Action 41 of the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils.

How Southampton is reducing air pollution

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Southampton has cut air pollution by supporting greener taxis, buses and deliveries. Reducing air pollution is part of the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils, under Action 22: Put in place Clean Air Zones, with charges if needed.

How Stroud District Council is using planning to cut car use

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Stroud District Council is using development planning to cut car use. Making developments strategic like this is one of 50 climate actions for councils, under Action 28, to reduce the need to own and use a car by requiring that the location and design of new developments be accessible by safe cycling, walking routes and good quality public transport, and situated close to key services.

How Leeds is making all council vehicles electric

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Leeds City Council is making all its vehicles electric and helping residents and businesses do the same. Transitioning to electric vehicles is one of 50 climate actions for councils, under Action 25, to deliver a rapid transition of the council’s own fleet to electric vehicles.

How Leicester is boosting bus use and cycling in the city

23 May 2022

Learn how Leicester City Council’s active travel strategy is boosting bus use and cycling in the city. This investment forms part of 50 climate actions for councils under Action 21, to prioritise transport investment in cycling, walking, trams, and public transport, with a priority of installing segregated cycleways on most roads, increasing space for pedestrians, and introducing a 20 mph speed limit in urban areas.

How Brighton & Hove are turning city centre deliveries green

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Brighton and Hove City Council is pioneering electric cargo bikes for clean and efficient city-centre deliveries. This scheme forms part of 50 climate actions for councils under Action 26, to require an electric vehicle or bike to be used for deliveries to the council and encourage greener deliveries across the area by setting up an area-wide distribution centre.

How Durham is promoting the use of electric vehicles

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Durham County Council is encouraging a shift to electric vehicles by installing more than 160 charging points. This approach forms part of 50 climate actions for councils under Action 20, to enable a rapid shift to electric vehicles by installing electric vehicle charging points.

How Waltham Forest engaged its community to take climate action

23 May 2022

Learn how Waltham Forest engaged the local community to drive positive climate action that would last. Engaging the community is one of 50 climate actions for councils under Action 3, use additional decision-making approaches for complex or contentious choices, such as representative citizen assemblies or citizens’ juries, participatory mapping, and budgeting, etc.

How Nottingham used a parking levy to cut congestion and raise millions

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Nottingham City Council raised money from a workplace car parking levy to fund sustainable transport, focusing on safe travel like segregated cycleways. Parking levies form part of Action 7 in the 50-point Climate Action Plan for councils – introduce a workplace car parking levy and/ or similar initiative to fund and encourage sustainable transport.

Waste


How Bristol City Council is reducing food waste

23 May 2022

All stages of food production contribute to climate change, but food waste in particular, contributes to avoidable emissions. Read how Bristol City Council is making progress towards becoming a zero-waste city, through expanding services to its community and engaging them in waste-reducing activities. Reducing food waste forms part of Action 37 of the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils.

How York and North Yorkshire's partnership is helping cut waste

10 Mar 2022

Find out how City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council used their collective power within a Local Enterprise Partnership to push for regional net zero targets and launch a Circular Economy Strategy to minimise waste and pollution. Using council membership in Local Enterprise Partnerships to ensure all decisions contribute to a green economy is part of Action 42 of the 50-point Climate Action Plan.

How Three Rivers District Council became a top recycler

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Three Rivers District Council became a top recycler, as part of the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils. Increasing recycling is a big part of Action 36: Aim to send no waste to landfills or incineration.

How Derry and Strabane Council created a zero waste circular economy strategy

23 May 2022

Learn how Derry and Strabane Council created a zero-waste circular economy strategy, as part of 50 actions for councils under Action 38: adopt circular-economy waste policies in relevant plans and contracts.

How Leeds uses sustainable food to help schools combat the climate crisis

23 Nov 2022

Learn how Leeds City Council uses sustainable food to help schools lower their carbon footprint through the meals they serve. Influencing others such as schools to purchase green meals is part of Action 44 in the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils.

How Pembrokeshire set up a share, repair and reuse network

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Pembrokeshire created a share, repair and reuse network that cuts waste and develops employment skills for local people. Promoting community sharing and reuse to reduce waste and unnecessary consumption is Action 39 of 50 climate actions for councils.

How Durham used a plastic pledge to cut waste and inspire community

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Durham County Council reduced waste with a ban on single-use plastic in council offices and premises inspiring the wider community to tackle the problem. The ban forms part of 50 climate actions for councils under Action 40.

Nature


How Hackney is connecting more people to local green space

08 Sep 2022

Hackney Council has adopted several measures to ensure quality green spaces are accessible to everyone in the borough. Protecting existing local green spaces and developing new good quality green spaces in areas which fall short of recommended minimum levels form Actions 46 and 48 of the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils.

How Lewes District Council is keeping climate targets on track

23 May 2022

Learn how Lewes District Council is keeping climate ambition on track by setting short-term measurable goals for climate- and nature-related targets. Setting interim goals to maintain momentum is part of Action 4 in the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils.

How Kent is protecting nature through long term planning

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Kent County Council is using long term planning to protect and recover threatened species through habitat maintenance, restoration and creation. Producing a nature and ecosystem restoration plan to restore habitats, species, and ecosystem quality and function, is Action 49 of the 50-point Climate Action Plan for Councils.

How Burnley manages parks to bring environmental and financial benefits

08 Sep 2022

Creating a more natural environment in local parks boosts biodiversity and community wellbeing, and delivers financial savings too. Learn how Burnley Borough Council helped give nature a helping hand while saving vital funds, as part of Action 47 of 50 climate actions for councils.

How Wirral's tree strategy will plant 210,000 trees by 2030

08 Sep 2022

Learn how Wirral Council is protecting existing trees, and planting 210,000 trees by 2030 to help store carbon, support nature, aid flood protection and deliver mental health benefits. This tree strategy is part of 50 climate actions for councils, under Action 45 - to double tree cover on council-owned land, update local planning strategies to double tree cover across the local authority area, and ensure existing trees are properly protected.

These case studies were produced by Ashden and Friends of the Earth, with support from ADEPT (Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport), Climate Emergency UK, Grantham Institute (Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College London), London Environment Directors’ Network (LEDNet), and My Society.