88 local leaders come together before COP26 to set ambitious Net Zero targets
There are now 88 cross-party local leaders, representing over half of the UK population and 34,030,804 million people, committed to meeting Net-Zero at least five years earlier than the UK government.
In the weeks ahead of COP26, the annual UN climate conference hosted in 2021 by the UK, 23 more council leaders from all four corners of the UK signed up to the NGO UK100’s ‘Net Zero Pledge’.
The new UK100 members include South Tyneside Council, Suffolk County Council, Portsmouth City Council, East Ayrshire Council and Greater London Authority.
Mayor Sadiq Khan, who represents 8.9 million Londoners, joins UK100 as its biggest member and with some of the most ambitious local climate action in the country.
The new commitments, from rural and metro councils alike across the UK, come just over a week before COP26, with Cllr Douglas Reid highlighting the “innovative thinking and practical work” to meet Net Zero in East Ayrshire, Scotland.
And Cllr Ben Fitter-Harding, Conservative Leader of Canterbury City Council, says ahead of COP26 “we are signalling our intent to achieve Net Zero by joining other leading local authorities from across the country who are prioritising climate action”.
UK100’s Net Zero Pledge commits the local authorities to cutting their council emissions to Net Zero by 2030 and those of their residents and businesses by 2045 – five years ahead of the UK government’s 2050 target.
The UK government’s Net Zero Strategy, released on Tuesday, references UK100’s policy proposals in this area, as set out in UK100’s Net Zero Local Leadership Communique.
The communique proposes a new, enhanced partnership with the UK government to accelerate the transition to Net Zero.
Since December 2020, UK100’s membership of Net Zero authorities has more than doubled, from 41 to 88, highlighting the ambitious action of councils from rural and metro councils alike.
Councillor Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said:
“Rising to the challenge of climate change has long been a top priority for Suffolk County Council; our Greenest County Awards started back in 2007, we were amongst the first councils to declare a Climate Emergency, and we’ve an ambitious goal to be a net zero authority by 2030.
“In Suffolk, we’re planting hundreds of thousands of trees, rolling out over 100 rural EV charging points, ensuring battery storage and renewable energy generation are a firm part of our estate, installing intelligent LED street lighting, and much more. So I’m delighted to join the UK100’s Net Zero Pledge.
“We know that to address climate change everyone in our society needs to act; whether that’s a local council, a school, community organisation, businesses, or each of us as individuals. We all need to think about the choices we make in our day to day lives. This is why Suffolk Public Sector Leaders have agreed the Suffolk Climate Emergency Plan, which will help drive a green economic recovery in our county and make sure everyone in our communities can be involved.
“I’m delighted to see so many councils making our environment a clear priority and coming together under the UK100 banner. It’s only by working together locally, nationally, and internationally that we’ll deliver the change that’s needed.”