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East Midlands Chamber News

UK100 Net Zero pledge: Regional leaders commit to reaching carbon neutrality at least five years earlier than UK Government

The figureheads of three councils in the East Midlands are among 38 regional leaders in Britain that have pledged to reach net zero at least five years earlier than central Government.

Leaders at Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council and Nottingham City Council have signed the UK100 Net Zero pledge, which explicitly commits them to neutralising their own emissions by 2030 and those of their residents and businesses by 2045.

In an event held by the UK100 NGO today (10 December) to launch a year of activities ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November 2021, the cross-party group of city mayors and council leaders will begin working together to push for more funding and powers from central Government to hit their new emissions targets – which go beyond the UK’s stated goal for carbon neutrality by 2050.

In the declaration, they said: “We will do everything within our power and influence to rapidly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

“We will bring our council emissions to net zero by 2030 and we will work with our residents and businesses to bring our wider communities’ emissions in line with net zero as soon as possible (and by 2045 at the latest).

“We will continue to lead the UK’s response to net zero, going ahead of the government goal and taking the first steps with urgency. We will make substantial progress within the next decade to deliver net zero. With greater powers, we would go further, faster.”

COP26 high level climate action champion Nigel Topping will meet with the group to discuss the importance of local leadership in the UK in enabling greater commitments to be made at COP26 in Glasgow.

The 38 authorities represent 20.4 million people, almost a third of the UK’s population, including all tiers of local government and all regions in England, as well as Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland.

Five city region mayors have also committed to the pledge.

The leaders have agreed to limit the use of offsets and use them only as a last resort when reducing emissions to net zero at source is not possible.

They will aim for their offsets to be as local as possible. Leaders have also committed to annual reporting of their progress from 2022 onwards.

Polly Billington, director of UK100, said: “These ambitious local leaders have pledged to do everything within their power to reach net zero emissions as soon as possible in a way that benefits their communities with new jobs and skills.

“From Edinburgh to Cornwall, local leadership, alongside funding and powers is key to winning the race to net zero.”

Mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby said: "The climate emergency affects us all and everyone has a role to play in mitigating its effects. In Leicester, we are proud to have published our first Climate Emergency Strategy and action plan setting out an ambitious vision for how our city needs to change to become carbon-neutral and adapt to the effects of global heating by 2030, or sooner.

“We are under no illusion about the enormity of this challenge and we know that we cannot do this alone. By coming together with other local authorities as part of the UK100 Net Zero pledge, we will have a stronger voice in calling upon government to provide the support we need to accelerate this urgent work."

Nick Rushton, leader of Leicestershire County Council, said: “I was delighted to sign Leicestershire up to the original UK100 pledge. Since that time, the council has declared a climate emergency, agreed a £16m package of measures over the next four years to take action on reducing carbon, such as replacing 68,000 street lights with more efficient LEDs.

“Our ultimate ambition is being net zero by 2030. Local government can play a vital role in achieving these targets, and being a part of the UK100 family, reinforces the collective message that reducing and eventually eliminating our carbon impact is everyone’s responsibility. Quite simply, we cannot do this individually. But together, our future is in our hands.”

Cllr David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, added: “Signing up to the UK100 Net Zero pledge is an ambitious pledge, but one that seems ever more important. It is our fundamental duty to do what we can in local government to protect our citizens from emergency situations, and we have a duty to take a lead in reducing emissions to protect future generations from the worst potential impacts of climate change.

“By signing up to this pledge, we commit to leading our communities towards a cleaner, greener and healthier city.”

 

Full List of UK100 Net Zero pledge signatories

 

Authority

Signatory (Leader)

Bath and North East Somerset Council

Cllr Dine Romero

Birmingham City Council

Cllr Ian Ward

Bristol City Council

Mayor Marvin Rees

Bury Metropolitan Borough Council

Cllr Eamonn O'Brien

Cambridgeshire County Council

Cllr Steve Count

London Borough of Camden

Cllr Georgia Gould

Cornwall Council

Cllr Julian German

Cotswold District Council

Cllr Joe Harris

City of Edinburgh Council

Cllr Adam McVey

London Borough of Enfield

Cllr Nesil Caliskan

Glasgow City Council

Cllr Susan Aitken

Gloucestershire County Council

Cllr Mark Hawthorne

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Mayor Andy Burnham

Royal Borough of Greenwich

Cllr Danny Thorpe

London Borough of Islington

Cllr Richard Watts

Leeds City Council

Cllr Judith Blake

Leicester City Council

Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby

Leicestershire County Council

Cllr Nicholas Rushton

London Borough of Lewisham

Mayor Damien Egan

Liverpool City Council

Mayor Joe Anderson

Liverpool City Region

Mayor Steve Rotheram

Milton Keynes Council

Cllr Peter Marland

Newcastle City Council

Cllr Nick Forbes

Nottingham City Council

Cllr David Mellen

Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council

Cllr Sean Fielding

Oxford City Council

Cllr Susan Brown

Plymouth City Council

Cllr Tudor Evans

Reading Borough Council

Cllr Jason Brock

Sheffield City Region

Mayor Dan Jarvis

Solihull Council

Cllr Ian Courts

Somerset County Council

Cllr David Fothergill

South Gloucestershire Council

Cllr Toby Savage

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council

Cllr Sybil Ralphs

Stevenage Borough Council

Cllr Sharon Taylor

West Midlands Combined Authority

Mayor Andy Street

West of England Combined Authority

Cllr Tim Bowles

Westminster City Council

Cllr Rachael Robathan

Wiltshire Council

Cllr Philip Whitehead


 


UK100 Net Zero Pledge: Full text

The people who live in the cities, towns and villages we serve deserve warm homes, secure and affordable energy, clean air and water, and local and seasonal food. They deserve access to thriving nature and healthy landscapes, and to live in a place they can be proud of.

As local leaders across the UK, we see the challenges our communities face. We recognise our responsibility to tackle the climate emergency and protect our environment to secure the future for them and for people around the world.

In 2019, the UK Parliament passed legislation to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to Net Zero by 2050. This was to keep in line with international commitment in the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. But science tells us we need to start now and make rapid reductions much sooner.

We will do everything within our power and influence to rapidly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We will bring our council emissions to Net Zero by 2030* and we will work with our residents and businesses to bring our wider communities’ emissions in line with Net Zero as soon as possible (and by 2045* at the latest).

We will continue to lead the UK’s response to Net Zero, going ahead of the government goal and taking the first steps with urgency. We will make substantial progress within the next decade to deliver Net Zero. With greater powers, we would go further, faster.

We will be bold and brave, carrying out strong climate action now and building prosperous, secure and more resilient communities that are healthier, cleaner and safer, in ways that follow the science and are practical and achievable.

We pledge to assess our largest impacts on climate change, prioritise where action needs to be taken and measure and monitor progress towards targets. We will reduce our emissions at source and limit the use of carbon offsets, to play our part in the global effort to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

As local leaders, we are uniquely placed to help tackle the climate emergency. We are closer to the people who live and work in our communities, so we have a better understanding of their needs. This means we can collaborate with them to build consensus for the solutions we need to transition to a Net Zero society that delivers multiple benefits and is fair, just and works for everyone.

We have come together from local authorities across the UK to share knowledge and collaborate with each other, with businesses and our residents to deliver action now. And we will also use our experience of our ability and achievements to advocate to the UK government in order to accelerate the transition to a Net Zero society.

As a nation, we have demonstrated throughout our history that we are able and willing to lead on finding solutions to the challenges the world faces. The success and prosperity of our nation has largely rested on our ability to harness the power of dirty fossil fuels. It is now our shared responsibility to turn this ingenuity to solving the climate emergency in a way that has a positive impact on our communities. We need to ensure our future is better than our past.

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