April 10, 2024

Scoring Successes for Our Climate

We took part in the Climate Emergency UK conference Scorecards Successes: Enabling Local Climate Action. Policy and Engagement Officer Apaar reflects on her day attending the event. 

Local authorities play a big role in climate action, holding responsibility in categories like transport, waste management, planning, and land use. We need to be engaged to be able to hold our local authorities to account on their plans, celebrate their climate action successes, and to encourage more action. Although most councils have declared a ‘climate emergency,’ and many have produced in-depth action plans, some argue we need to make climate action a statutory duty for all UK local authorities. In this blog, I’ll talk about how scorecards can help you compare your council’s record to others and push them to do more.

Starting off the day, representatives from Climate Emergency UK and the sustainability consultancy Anthesis launched the report Scorecards Successes: What Factors Enable Climate Action Within UK Local Authorities? This report built upon Climate Emergency UK’s ‘Council Climate Action Scorecards’, which compare and contrast actions that local authorities have taken towards net zero. Have a look to see where your local authority falls.

Although already an invaluable tool for on-the-ground campaigners, the report deepens the usefulness of the scorecards by providing an analysis of the factors that enable climate action in UK local authorities. Key findings of the report include: 

  • Having a dedicated portfolio councillor for climate was found to improve a council’s Scorecards result by 11%
  • Other factors, such as having a published climate strategy with SMART targets and embedding area-wide climate targets in key documents improved a council’s score by 9%

In themselves, these findings are very promising in identifying areas in which local councils can improve their overall record on climate. If you would be interested in finding out if your local council could implement these policies, or in getting assistance in campaigning to make that happen, reach out to Hope for the Future and we’ll do everything we can to help. Our team can produce tailored research, craft specific requests to put to your local politicians and help you to craft effective letters to name a few things! You can either fill out the Your Next Step form here or email info@hftf.org.uk and we will be in touch.

After the launch, the break out sessions were the best part of the day (apart from a sunny lunch enjoyed outside)! The most interesting session for me was on the topic of what good climate governance looks like, where we were joined by Councilor Anna Railton and Matt Babic from Anthesis. They encouraged public-private partnerships for climate action, public engagement activities, and using a public health framing of climate issues. The examples they gave of good public engagement included climate assemblies and the Southwark Climate Day - which I had the pleasure of speaking at previously. Councillor Railton also spoke of the work of amazing campaign groups in Oxford and the approach of enabling local groups but not organising on their behalf - something that HFTF fully supports. A key learning of the session was for local authorities to meet residents where they currently are, in terms of their current perspective. At Hope for the Future, we work with many local groups, encouraging and facilitating their work to engage local authorities as well as MPs. One such group was a climate group in Leeds and we worked together to engage their local councillors with the result of an agreement to plant a number of trees in different areas of Leeds. 

There were also many great opportunities for networking at the event. We met others from the environmental sector including representatives of Carbon Copy, mySociety, and Global Justice Now to name a few as well as council officers and councillors and members of campaigning groups. Through these interactions, we learnt about all of the great work that is currently happening in so many different geographical areas and on varied topics.

I would encourage everyone to read the report and think about how your local authority fares on the scorecards and on the related factors that enable success. If you find a factor that is not being acted on, you can use it in a SMART ask that you present to your council! Another great topic for an ask could be asking your local election candidate or newly elected councillor to attend Climate Emergency UK’s free Local Climate Academy. You can find out more about this here.

If you would like to create an ask for your councillor based on anything in this blog or the report, do email us (info@hftf.org.uk) and one of our Policy and Engagement Officers will be in touch.

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