This is a list of the 117 local authorities in the United Kingdom who have declared a ‘climate emergency’ and set a target date of net zero by 2030 for both their own carbon emissions and for their District/County/Borough.

Target dates 2030

wdt_IDCouncilTypeControlLeadDeclaredDate CouncilDate CommunityStrategyAction PlanLink
CouncilTypeControlLeadDeclaredDate CouncilDate CommunityStrategyAction PlanLink

Following a council motion in December pledging to restrict non-essential car use in York’s city centre by 2023 the city has had national and international coverage.
This follows an increasing trend, with Oslo and Ghent pledging to follow the example of cities like Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Cambridge removing through traffic
and extending pedestrian priority. Green Councillor Andy D’Agorne who is Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Member for Transport said “This cross-party commitment in York is what is needed to give confidence to bus operators and ‘last mile’ delivery companies.
“It is also a strong steer that we can create healthy streets while still maintaining essential vehicle access for deliveries, services and those with mobility needs.”
Consultation with residents, businesses and organisations via the new Local Transport Plan (see page 5) will help to identify the most effective way to prevent through traffic while maintaining essential access.
All options will be up for discussion later in 2020 – whether new or improved bus routes, freight transshipment, electric cars, residents parking zones, strategic cycle route
improvements or other ideas.
Another idea that could be considered is a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL). A WPL scheme is a charge on employers who provide workplace parking that has been introduced in Nottingham.
It is designed to encourage employers to promote public transport rather than providing parking for employees. Money raised from these schemes is then used to subsidise public transport.
Councillor D’Agorne adds, “regardless of the scheme chosen, road traffic contributes over a third of our carbon emissions. “Cutting car use has to be a key element of plans to reach zero carbon by 2030.

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I’ve worked on climate change for 20 years as an officer at local authorities, managing Climate South East and currently as Climate Lead for the Sussex Wildlife Trust.

During this time I had the opportunity to work on ground breaking and innovative sustainability and climate change initiatives at an organisational and community level as well as shaping several climate-related policies and strategies.

Climate change was high on the agenda until 2009 and councils worked collaboratively and measured their emissions methodically. Public perception of climate change was as high then as it is now and Lewes District Council (where I worked then) was fully engaged with local communities in many ways.

And yet, all of this was wiped away in the recession and the great ‘Bonfire of the Sustainability Officers’ that took place as councils facing increasing financial pressures whittled their climate change resources to the bone. As both a casualty of this time and as a survivor working in another council this was an increasingly frustrating time as the years of embedding sustainability practices were (ironically) wiped out overnight. It dawned on me (belatedly) that national and local politics were fundamental in shaping the local climate discourse and my decision to stand as a local councillor coincided with a renewed understanding nationally that more urgency was needed in addressing climate change.

What was previously a ‘Climate Crisis’ became a ‘climate emergency’ and was given new impetus with the UN Special report by the Independent Panel on Climate Change in December 2018 stating that temperatures would likely exceed 1.5 degrees C between 2030 and 2052 at current levels of CO2 with devasting impacts on humanity and nature.

This resulted in a number of councils declaring (with different timelines) climate emergencies.

“I was elected as a Green councillor in May 2019, joining the cabinet when – as an alliance between the Green Party, Labour and the Liberal Democrats – we took control of Lewes District Council. The first motion I brought forward was to declare Climate Emergency committing the council to reducing its emissions to Net Zero and being fully climate resilient by 2030.”

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How Lewes is planning to reach net zero by 2030

An Ecological Emergency has been declared by South Oxfordshire District Council.

The declaration reflects the council’s commitment to protect and restore the natural world – a key priority set out in the South Oxfordshire Corporate Plan.

The council agreed to declare the Ecological Emergency following a motion that was passed at the Council meeting on 11 February. It builds on the council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency in 2019, which was followed by a pledge to become a carbon neutral council by 2025 and a carbon neutral district by 2030.

The motion, which was proposed by Cllr Sam Casey-Rerhaye, explains: “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the relationship between people and nature. When we destroy and degrade habitats, we increase the risk of disease spill-over from wildlife to people”

It also calls for the council to incorporate the climate and ecological emergencies and nature recovery as strategic priorities in planning policies. The council will now also look into establishing a Biodiversity Steering Group and to embed climate action and ecological initiatives within all council work areas, including COVID-19 recovery projects and programmes.

Cllr Casey-Rerhaye, Chair of the CEEAC, said: “We are seeing more and more tangibly how ecological issues are impacting nature and wildlife, and making the climate crisis even worse. We are already experiencing how this leads to extreme weather and has a detrimental effect on food production and so many other issues that ultimately endanger our lives and well-being and the world around us.”

Ends

Full wording of the motion proposed by Councillor Sam Casey-Rerhaye, seconded by Councillor David Rouane

Council has adopted a new Corporate Plan that has as one of its main priorities: ‘Protect and Restore the Natural World’. In the consultation exercise on this Plan, this theme was ranked the most important by a high number of respondents. This Council has already, rightly, declared a climate emergency (April 2019).

Council acknowledges that:

·       Our societies and economies are intimately linked with and depend on biodiversity and nature. The natural world is essential for the provision of nutritious food (with soil and pollinators having a vital role), clean water, clean air, medicines, and protection from extreme weather, as well as being our source of energy and raw materials

·       The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the relationship between people and nature. When we destroy and degrade habitats, we increase the risk of disease spill-over from wildlife to people

·       The State of Nature 2019 report highlighted the critical decline in biodiversity in the UK. Changes in farming practices have had the biggest effect in recent decades and the impact of climate change is now increasing. 15% of UK species are classified as threatened with extinction and 2% are already extinct

·       The State of the World’s Plants and Fungi 2020 report from Royal Botanic Gardens Kew estimated that 39.4% of plants are now threatened with extinction. This is a jump from one in five plants thought to be at risk in Kew’s 2016 report

·       The Environment Bill will require the introduction of a Local Nature Recovery Strategy and Nature Recovery Networks

·       Actions to restore nature and biodiversity, as well as being vital for their own sake, often have an important co-benefit of storing carbon, so help address climate change

·       People’s access to ‘green spaces’ to understand and appreciate biodiversity and a rich, natural world, private or public, is unequal

Council resolves to:

1.        Declare an ecological emergency

2.        Rename CEAC the Climate and Ecological Emergencies Advisory Committee, to help Cabinet and council officers address these twin emergencies

3.        Add ecological impact implications alongside those for climate and sustainability in committee and council reports.

4.        Ensure that addressing the climate and ecological emergencies and nature recovery are considered as strategic priorities for planning policies and design guides for new development, including master-planning of sites, by identifying appropriate areas for habitat restoration and biodiversity net gain and ensuring that development limits impact on existing habitats in its process, whilst also working on the principle of increasing equality of access for people to natural, green spaces

5.        Establish a Biodiversity Steering Group involving both key officers and members to oversee and develop the Councils approach to nature protection and recovery

6.        Set measurable targets and standards for biodiversity increase, in both species and quantities, seeking also to increase community engagement

7.        Work with our partners to establish a Local Nature Partnership for Oxfordshire as soon as possible, in keeping with the urgency of this declaration

8.        Work with our partners to develop Nature Recovery Networks and Nature Recovery Strategy for Oxfordshire, again in keeping with the urgency of this declaration

9.        Look for opportunities to work in partnership with local charities and environmental organisations to deliver nature recovery in South Oxfordshire

10.    Develop a district wide Tree Planting Policy and Strategy, including having Member Tree Champions, to support nature protection and recovery and carbon sequestration

11.    Build on the work of the Thames Champion to improve the ecology of the Thames and its banks and flood plains, a hugely important habitat in our District

12.    Ensure the Strategic Property Review considers opportunities for biodiversity enhancements and tree planting on Council landholdings

13.    Investigate new approaches to nature recovery such as habitat banking that deliver biodiversity objectives and provide new investment opportunities 

14.    Embed climate action and ecological initiatives within all council work areas, including COVID-19 recovery projects and programmes

15.    Write to all South Oxfordshire’s MPs urging them to support the Climate and Ecological Bill, a private member’s bill, in keeping with the declarations of this Council.