Founder and former Chief Executive, Polly Billington, has stepped down to campaign as the parliamentary candidate for the new seat of East Thanet.
Christopher Hammond calls for a “paradigm shift away from centralised decision-making”.
LONDON, 5 September 2023 — UK100, the UK’s only cross-party network of ambitious local leaders committed to Net Zero and clean air, has announced the appointment of Christopher Hammond as its new Chief Executive.
Christopher takes over as permanent Chief Executive from founder Polly Billington, who has stepped down to focus on her campaign to become MP for the new seat of East Thanet at the next general election.
Hammond brings significant experience from his time as Leader of Southampton City Council, where he led ambitious initiatives on shore power, the creation and adoption of the City’s first Green City Charter and tackling food insecurity for children.
He has served as UK100’s Director of Membership & Insights since June 2021, during which time he has doubled the size of the network and launched innovative programmes including the Climate Leadership Academy and Local Power in Action.
On his appointment, Christopher Hammond says:
“I am privileged to take on the role of Chief Executive at this crucial time for local climate action in the UK. With a challenging economic landscape and important local, regional and national elections in 2024, collaboration between local leaders will be more important than ever.
“Climate action needs to get cheaper, faster and better, if we stand a realistic chance of meeting our national Net Zero targets. But despite warm words from Westminster and Whitehall, we’re not seeing the paradigm-shift away from this centralised decision-making, to empowering local communities and their representatives to control the transition of their communities.
“I look forward to working with our cross-party membership to ensure local authorities have the powers and resources they need to deliver — with the ultimate aim of improving the lives of their residents while unlocking the economic potential of our towns and cities across the UK.”
Polly Billington founded UK100 in 2016 and led the organisation as Chief Executive for over six years before stepping down at the beginning of 2023. Polly remains committed to UK100 and will join the Board of Trustees.
“It has been an honour to lead UK100 for the past seven years. In that time, we have built a powerful cross-party movement of over 100 local leaders committed to ambitious climate action in their communities. I’m proud that UK100 has pushed the dial on national climate policy, ensuring local authorities have a seat at the table.
“It is an exciting and challenging time for local Net Zero. Cross-party local climate action is at a critical juncture and the role of UK100 in a post-Uxbridge world has never been more vital. I am reassured that I am handing over the reins to Christopher Hammond, who I know will lead UK100 from strength to strength.”
Jo Rogers, Chair of the UK100 Board of Trustees, says:
“I would like to thank Polly for her tireless work founding and leading UK100 over the past six years. Her drive and vision have established local authorities as essential protagonists in the UK’s transition to Net Zero.
“As we look ahead to the next phase for UK100, I am delighted to welcome Christopher as our new CEO. His experience as a local leader and commitment to working across party lines gives him unique insight into the opportunities and barriers councils face in delivering the ambitious and urgent climate action necessary for the UK to meet its world-leading Net Zero goals.”
Jason Torrance, UK100’s Assistant Chief Executive, stepped up as Interim Chief Executive following Polly’s departure in January 2023. Jason will now return to the Assistant Chief Executive role.
Jo Rogers adds:
“I am grateful to Jason for stepping in as Interim Chief Executive over these past months. His efforts and commitment to UK100’s mission have provided Christopher an excellent springboard from which to drive forward the next phase of the UK100 journey.”
More information: Liam Ward, UK100, firstname.lastname@example.org