On Thursday, 14 July, we unveiled our flagship Local Net Zero Delivery progress reports, an update on our previous Power Shift report, and a local authority version of the recent Climate Change Committee report to Parliament.
The reports explore issues surrounding local powers, finance, transport, energy, heat and buildings, nature, waste, and clean air.
The reports, broadly, find that while positive progress has been made in the last year, local and regional leaders face significant barriers to accelerating local Net Zero action. Restricted powers and limited funding present the most significant obstacles to local authorities' Net Zero ambitions.
Polling commissioned by UK100, and carried out by YouGov, supports the reports' findings. When asked, the majority of people across the UK say they feel local leaders are best placed to tackle the climate crisis, but they believe they have too few resources and too little power to take effective action.
UK100 launched the reports at a virtual press conference with speakers including UK100 Co-presidents, Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, and Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, alongside Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Chris Skidmore MP, Cllr Kevin Guy, leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council, and Cllr Linda Taylor, Leader of Cornwall Council. You can rewatch the event here and below.
At the same time, local leaders from across the UK100 network shared their thoughts on the Local Net Zero Delivery progress reports. Below is a summary of the media coverage.
Marvin Rees, the Mayor of Bristol, wrote about UK100's progress report on finance in the Local Government Chronicle (LGC), which also carried a joint article from Tracy Brabin and Richard Clewer on the need for cross-party collaboration on Net Zero. The LGC also interviewed Polly Billington, UK100's Chief Executive, about the Local Net Zero Delivery progress report on energy while reporting on Andy Burnham's plea at the UK100 virtual press conference for Conservative Party leadership contenders not to drop Net Zero.
Finance was also the report, perhaps unsurprisingly, that Oliver Rudgewick at Public Finance focused on in his write-up of our Local Net Zero Delivery progress reports.
Councillor Andy D'Agorne, the Deputy Leader and Transport Cabinet Member for The City of York, penned an article about the report on transport and the need to put an end to short-term competitive funding pots as a tool for delivering local Net Zero progress.
Meanwhile, letsrecycle.com hosted an article from Reading Borough Council leader Councillor Jason Brock on Local Net Zero and waste management progress in Reading and an analysis of our Local Net Zero Delivery progress report on waste.
At LocalGov, they chose to focus on local power issues highlighted in the reports. At the same time, they hosted an article written by Councillor Rachel Coxcoon, Cabinet Member for Climate and Planning at Cotswold Council, on why UK100's reports demonstrate the need for a new Prime Minister to recognise the value of local Net Zero delivery.
Over at Air Quality News, Chloe Coules has written about how our polling amounts to voters asking for the Government to give councils more money for Net Zero to ease the cost-of-living crisis and explored our report on clean air in depth. Air Quality News also published a comment piece from Councillor Kevin Guy, the Leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council, responding to our Local Net Zero Delivery report on clean air and reflecting on UK100's recent Clean Air Net Zero research.
The Environment Journal, meanwhile, ran with an opinion piece from one of UK100's newest members, Councillor Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire Council, reflecting on Nature and Net Zero. They also covered our report on nature in depth.
BusinessGreen led with the polling but also focused on our report on heat and buildings, one of the areas where progress on Local Net Zero has been most disappointing and one of the areas where local leaders face the most significant barriers to progress.
Energy Manager Magazine carried an article from UK100's Director of Communications and Campaigns on the opportunities for a new Prime Minister to build on and improve the Net Zero work of their predecessor in decarbonising Britain's energy markets.
Finally, reporters at ICON and Local Authority Building & Maintenance describe how the UK100 Local Net Zero Delivery progress reports "find that local government ambition is not being mirrored or adequately enabled at the national level, and urgent attention is needed to support local leaders to deliver Net Zero."