Pass the Planet

Moving on from COP26, we will continue to demonstrate the importance of local leadership to delivering the UK’s net zero ambitions, and to share the leading work of councils

Climate change hub

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) took place in Glasgow from 31 October to 13 November 2021. At the conference, we showcased the work that councils have been doing to address climate change.

Through our Pass the Planet campaign, we have been promoting good practice to support universal learning and share innovative solutions which councils can scale up or replicate. The campaign spotlighted every region in England and Wales, and you can view these in the drop-down menus below. You can also use our interactive map to view all the case studies featured in the campaign, and filter by climate action topic or COP26 goal.

Councils can continue to send us case studies of their work to [email protected] which will be featured on our climate change hub and in our case studies section.

Pass the Planet interactive map

Webinar: Pass the Planet - Showcasing local climate action on the COP26 goals

This webinar was organised as part of the LGA’s green webinar series and shared best practice themed around the COP26 goals of mitigation, adaptation, collaboration and finance. Four councils from across England and Wales shared their examples of local climate action which included a climate implications toolkit, net zero toolkit, community investment grant and school collaboration project.

Below you can view the slides which accompanied each speaker’s presentation and a blog post providing a summary of the event.

Regional spotlights

North East
  • Durham County Council have been working in partnership with Durham University and using over forty volunteers to measure the impact of home working on real world energy consumption, to help their organisations, and others like theirs, with future energy scenario planning.
  • Northumberland County Council established a commercial energy team in 2016 which created capacity to assess business cases for the installation of renewable technology across the Council’s estate in order to power and heat their buildings in a more sustainable way. Since 2011 the Council have delivered a suite of solar PV and renewable heat source technologies which have substantially decarbonised operations.
  • South Tyneside Council implemented a district heating scheme for its high-rise residential blocks in the seventies and has continued this tradition in recent years with three major District Heating Networks, of which Viking Energy Network Jarrow (VENJ) will be the first to be completed. This scheme will be a key component in the Council’s drive to become carbon neutral by 2030, with an estimated 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide being saved per annum, significantly contributing to the Councils carbon neutral ambitions.
North West
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Natural Health Service programme seeks to utilise the proven benefits of green space, introducing more people to the value of undertaking activities within a natural environment in a social setting, improving wellbeing, and building lasting friendships.
  • Cumbria County Council has introduced ‘plastic’ roads around the county using products which replace some of the bitumen with recycled waste plastic. These new designs make road surfaces stronger, more durable and more environmentally friendly.
  • Lancashire County Council have invested in Low Carbon Street Lighting, through the county wide conversion of 152,000 streetlights to energy saving LEDs. Since 2009 the council has cumulatively reduced carbon emissions by over 86,400 tonnes, reduced energy consumption by over 48,189MWh and saved almost £40m in energy costs. Lancashire also recognised that a planned highway capital surfacing programme was a highly carbon intensive programme of work, so began a journey to ascertain the carbon output, record and measure changes made to reduce it, and develop tools to allow them to integrate carbon usage into the asset lifecycle modelling.
  • Lancaster City Council declared a Climate Emergency in January 2019, at which point the Local Plan had been submitted and it was not possible to be significantly amended. The Council needed to review its new plan to strengthen and enhance policies in regard to climate action, whilst balancing the need to deliver new development. 32 policies were highlighted for review, improvement, and strengthening.
  • South Lakeland District Council along with the University of Manchester ran a competition for pupils of primary and secondary schools to design a poster about the climate emergency for their bin lorries, which motivated communities to take action on climate change and has over 90 entries.
Yorkshire and the Humber
  • The City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council have worked with partners to develop its own, open source, free from copyright, maintainable Digital Twin of the city which can be used to create what-if scenarios and enable data-driven decision making.
  • North East Lincolnshire Council are delivering Smart Energy Greater Lincolnshire, a £8.5 million European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Salix part funded project, providing ‘one stop shop’ free advice and grants for small/medium businesses (SMEs) and public buildings to boost renewable energy use and lower carbon emissions.
  • The City of York Council have fully implemented a Clean Air Zone and have been working hard on a variety of climate projects which include creating an extensive community woodland with the ambition to plant 50,000 trees by 2023 as a nature based solution to climate change mitigation, and a new build housing programme with all homes built to achieve zero carbon in use.
East Midlands
  • Derbyshire County Council has launched a Green Entrepreneurs Fund. This £2 million grant fund will help local businesses develop and invest in green energy and carbon reduction, and provide a boost to the local economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Leicester City Council is raising awareness through the Carbon Literacy Project to accredit university students and school staff to become carbon literate trainers. To date 71 students from De Montfort University and the University of Leicester, and 59 school staff from 42 schools in the city, have been accredited.
  • Leicester have also been doing some exciting work on a new public ebike share system called Santander Cycles Leicester.
  • Nottingham City Council have set an ambitious target to become the first carbon neutral city in the UK by 2028. This Carbon Neutral Plan builds on the Carbon Neutral Charter by setting out high-level objectives and activities in order to achieve a resilient and carbon neutral Nottingham by 2028.
West Midlands
  • Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has embarked on an exciting scheme to deliver an alternative source of affordable low carbon energy to its town centre. The low carbon energy network will distribute low carbon heat and power from a single energy centre directly into town centre buildings.
  • Staffordshire County Council and Entrust, have worked with numerous schools and district councils to engage, educate and empower school leaders, teachers and pupils in the importance of reducing carbon.
  • Telford & Wrekin Council was the second local authority in the UK to build a publicly owned solar farm. The solar farm now generates 18.63 GWh of green electricity to power more than 800 homes with a total carbon avoidance of over 9,000 tonnes, and has generated an income of £1.83m.
  • Warwick District Council purchased twenty Section 106 affordable housing plots as part of consented residential scheme. The budget for the purchase of these plots included over £200,000 towards the delivery of a climate upgrade specification.
  • Warwickshire County Council overcame barriers to action and enabled communities to deliver their own local solutions, through a £1 million Community Climate Change Fund called Green Shoots.
  • Carmarthenshire County Council is working in partnership with Dolen Cymru Lesotho on the Walk the Global Walk project, supporting 15 schools with a focus on climate action. Pupil ambassadors raise awareness of climate change, lead actions in their communities and then come together to share and celebrate their work with decision makers in the annual Global Walk.
  • Denbighshire County Council has changed its Constitution to ensure all decisions made have regard for tackling climate and ecological change. Supporting templates and processes have also been updated including the committee report template, terms of reference, wellbeing impact assessment process and project business case template for capital and business development schemes.
  • Newport City Council is working in collaboration with Egni Co-op, a community organisation that funds and manages PV installation in Wales, to meet the target of becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2030. To date, this partnership has installed 6,713 solar panels across 27 sites (2.074MW) in Newport, with an estimated annual generation of over 1,900,000 kWh of clean electricity.
South West
South East
  • Brighton & Hove City Council have been a lead player in identifying the potential of green hydrogen in the Greater Brighton City Region, setting up Hydrogen Sussex, a new body which supports and promotes the development of a hydrogen economy.
  • Hampshire County Council are working with partners to deliver community projects on climate change, have set up an expert forum to engage with community groups, and launched residential projects that will support efforts in reducing Hampshire-wide carbon emissions.
  • Swale Borough Council will now save more than 30 tonnes of carbon every year with a fleet of nine new electric vehicles and, to ensuring the most vulnerable in society were not adversely affected by climate change, have set up a Fuel and Water Home Advice Service.
  • West Sussex County Council through an ambitious programme to build solar farms on council land, integrate renewable energy technology into council buildings and enable more than 80 schools to switch to clean power, the council has almost halved its carbon emissions and dramatically increased the amount of renewable energy they generate.
  • Winchester City Council commissioned Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC) and the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) to support the development of climate action hubs in the district. This is part of the Winchester Climate Action Network project, which aims to engage Parish Councils and communities to inspire them to take action against Climate Change.
  • LB Hammersmith and Fulham have developed a ‘climate implications toolkit’ as a qualitative self-assessment tool to help all council officers assess and improve the alignment of their projects, procurements, commissioning, and services with H&F’s climate and ecology strategy.
  • RB Kensington and Chelsea have co-designed and delivered a comprehensive refurbishment to transform Lancaster West into a model 21st century estate. This will include fabric-first deep retrofits of all 795 homes on the estate, the development of a new low-carbon heat network, and the development of increased and improved green spaces to create a garden estate in the heart of London.
  • RB Kingston upon Thames is committed to increasing the use of participatory democracy to develop responses to difficult issues. As a result, the council held their first Citizens’ Assembly, asking residents “how do we collectively improve air quality in Kingston?”
  • LB Sutton has adopted an ambitious Environment Strategy and Climate Emergency Response Plan, taking action to increase domestic retrofit, develop a zero carbon technical standards guide for all council led developments, and prevent the physical impacts of climate change through increasing access to green spaces.
  • LB Waltham Forest Council have retrofitted sheltered housing schemes by developing a solar-powered system that can generate and store enough electricity to power the lifts and LED lighting in all communal areas day and night, delivering both financial and CO2 savings.
East of England
  • Cambridge City Council are seeking to grow Cambridge’s urban forest, increasing canopy cover from 17% to 19% by the 2050’s, through the Cambridge Canopy Project (part of the Interreg 2 Seas ‘Nature Smart Cities’ project).
  • Cambridgeshire County Council partnered with researchers from the University of Cambridge to address the question of how they should work with local communities to tackle the climate emergency, highlighting the untapped potential of young people.
  • Colchester Borough Council’s eCargo bike library aims to break down barriers to the use of electric cargo (eCargo) bikes for deliveries instead of cars or vans.
  • Essex County Council are working with partners across the France (Channel) England (FCE) region to help local authorities connect the circular economy to sustainable and inclusive growth.
  • Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership aims to share information, coordinate and influence solutions, and bring forward proposals for key interventions around climate change and sustainability across Hertfordshire.
  • Norwich City Council became the first UK council to run a public reverse public solar auction in 2015, it has installed more than 4,500 kW of solar capacity across the area.

COP26 prompt questions

Struggling to think of where your work fits in with the COP26 goals? See below for some prompt questions to get you thinking.

  • How is the council ensuring that all strategic decisions, budgets and policies are in line with a shift to carbon neutral/zero carbon emissions?
  • How is the council integrating sustainability and resilience into its transport and energy plans?
  • What is your council’s best initiative so far to reach net zero emissions?
  • How is your council including adaptation into housing and planning policy?
  • How is your council working to rebuild ecosystems?
  • Has your council started any resilient infrastructure projects?
  • Have you formed any new climate financing arrangements e.g. community bonds and green grants?
  • How does the council financially invest in initiatives that reduce carbon emissions?
  • How does your council consider environmental impacts in the procurement cycle?
  • How are you working towards net zero with your local businesses?
  • How is your council engaging with residents on tackling climate change?
  • Have you been working on any climate change reduction projects with other local authorities, Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations, or universities in your local area?