Climate action: transport and energy

How are we integrating sustainability and resilience into transport and energy plans?

Climate change hub

LGA resources 

Re:fit programme

Re:fit programme, run by Local Partnerships and funded through the LGA's Sector Led Improvement grant, this programme helps councils implement energy efficiency and local energy generation measures to their buildings or their estate. 

Clean, connected and in-control: what tomorrow's transport technology could mean for councils

Clean, connected and in-control: what tomorrow’s transport technology could mean for councils 

Councils in charge: making the case for electric charging investment

Councils in charge: making the case for electric charging investment 

Decarbonising transport briefings

These briefings are designed to help councils set goals for reducing carbon emissions from transport and understanding a range of key options available to them to make the rapid progress required.


Case studies

Councils are taking action to reduce their own carbon emissions and working with partners and local communities to tackle the impact of climate change on their local area. Below are examples of innovative case studies and ongoing projects from councils in specific areas. 

If you have a case study or piece of notable practice which you'd like to share with us, please fill out a case study template and submit it via email to [email protected], or simply email us with a few lines about what you’re up to. 

 E-scooter trial in Middlesbrough 

Energy project in Rother District Council

Portsmouth City Council's saving on energy bills

Notable practice

Bedford Borough Council

Region East of England

Target declared climate emergency and became carbon neutral by 2030

Project published a carbon management plan in 2011 and target to reduce carbon emissions by 40%. Pioneered schemes including a heat exchanger system in a local crematorium and an evaporative cooling project in 2012.

Carbon saving reduced carbon emissions by over 50%

Further information is available.

Cambridge City Council

Region East of England

Target In 2016 set an aspiration to achieve zero carbon status by 2050. Called upon the government to give LAs greater powers and to provide the national policies and the investment in renewable energy sources, home energy efficiency public transport and low emission vehicles needed to reach net zero carbon by 2030.

Project Projects include installation of 21 electric charge points in progress. Policy direction to require all taxis to be electric vehicles by a certain date. Councils can provide support through providing planning permission for electric vehicle only taxi ranks and subsidised licencing fees. Figures are based on 435 taxis, with a 60% reduction in CO2 through switching to EVs.

A 25% reduction in council GHG emissions since 2016, achieved through measures including energy efficiency measures in large council buildings saving 163 tCO2 annually. Measures installed included low energy lighting, a CHP system to utilise waste heat, new building management system to provide heating controls, and additional roof insulation

Related costs £18k pa (for two days a week of an officer to engage with taxi drivers and ensure planning provision is made for EV ranks)

Carbon saving 1,644 tonnes/yr based on entire taxi fleet becoming EV.

Further information is available.

Cambrideshire County Council

Region East of England

Target Declared a climate emergency in May 2019. Set five targets for the council including 50% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2023 and delivering council owned buildings owned and occupied and fleet vehicles (excluding gritters!) to be fossil fuel free. Also includes adaptation targets and biodiversity targets.

Project A 12MW solar farm launched in summer 2019 with 45,000 PV panels which will generate enough electricity for 3,000 homes and saves 3,570 tonnes of CO2 per annum since 2017. £11 million investment into 55 schools to reduce annual carbon emissions by 3370 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum and £910,000 energy bill savings. A pipeline of projects is under development totalling £56million which will reduce carbon emissions from 2022/23 by 10.705 tonnes per annum. In addition, £583,000 of investment from a £1million energy efficiency investment fund has been delivered into 51 LED lighting upgrade projects and two low carbon heating solutions.

Related costs initial investment of a £9million into the 12 MW solar farm, £11 million in schools and a loan facility of £56 million from a pipeline of energy projects. Plus £1million energy efficiency fund. Totalling £76 million.

Carbon saving Current annual savings total's 6,944 tonnes and over lifetime will be 277,760 tonnes. By 2023 the pipeline of investments will add CO2 reductions and altogether this should reach 16,994 tonnes per annum and 679,760 lifetime savings.

Further information is available.

Watford Borough Council

Region East of England

Target Declared a climate emergency and to be carbon neutral by 2030.


Watford has launched an innovative programme of transport solutions to help it meet to commitment to climate change. These involve: a dedicated travel app (travelWatford) to give people the information they need to make more sustainable travel choices, the introduction of the first bike share scheme in Hertfordshire (provided by Beryl Bikes) and an on-demand bus service the first supported by a local authority. In addition, it has invested in a new cycle hub for Watford to encourage more cycling, has an ambitious programme of EV charger installation and is piloting an innovative parking sensor project through the Internet of Things.

Further information is available

Chesterfield Borough Council

Region East Midlands

Target declared climate emergency

Project Established a climate working group to develop a costed action plan

Further information is available.

Northamptonshire County Council

Region East Midlands

Project As part of the government’s total transport initiative, Northamptonshire County Council used a ‘Big Data’ set to analyse local travel patterns. A new social enterprise board was created, which now has access to live travel information on around 32,000 travellers, covering almost 38% of all trips in the County carried out by employees and students associated with the parent organisations. This ‘Big Data’ set allows individual travel plans to be combined into a single virtual picture, enabling a radically different approach to transport planning.

Further information is available

Nottingham City Council

Region East Midlands

Target Declared climate emergency and target to be a carbon neutral city by 2028. On track to meeting it 2020 target or 20% energy generation from renewable and low carbon sources.

Project Tram network runs on green electricity

Carbon saving Nottingham has already surpassed its 2020 target of reducing CO2 admissions by 26% (compared to 2005). In 2017, Nottingham had managed to reduce total CO2 emissions by 41% (49% reduction in per person emissions) from 2005

Further information is available.

London Borough of Islington

Region Greater London

Target declared a climate emergency and target of net zero carbon by 2030

Project Delivering the Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle Streets programme - bans all non-zero emission vehicles from the Old Street and the City Fringe area at certain times of the day. Also replacing 160 of its fleet with vehicles that will either significantly reduce or eliminate emissions, to add to the 150 vehicles that are Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) compliant.

Carbon saving Nitrogen dioxide levels have reduced by 15% since 2012

Further information is available.

Tower Hamlets Council

Region Greater London

Target declared a climate emergency and target to be net zero emissions by 2025

Project Tower Hamlets council, which has set a target of net zero emissions by 2025, is using its carbon offset payments to fund a schools Energy Retrofit Programme, providing grants to schools to reduce their energy consumption. Schools are expected to save £5,400 on energy bills a year and reduce carbon emissions by an average of 53% a year. The council is also undertaking a phased programme to replace all street lighting with LED lighting, which will save for the council £2.7 million by 2020

Related costs £24,0000 grant programme and schools expected to save £4,700 on energy bills yearly

Carbon saving Reduce carbon emissions by average 53% per annum

Further information is available.

Richmond upon Thames Council

Region Greater London

Target declared a climate emergency and carbon neutral by 2030. Reduce the use of single waste plastic by 2020

Project Campaigning against the expansion of Heathrow's third runway

Further information is available.

Durham County Council

Region North East

Project Continued support for SME business, through the Business Energy Efficiency Project (BEEP), (£1.7 million EU investment for Durham SME’s) and development of proposals for district heating networks in Durham City.

Launch of a Single Use Plastics Pledge which over 250 individuals and organisations have signed up for.

LED lighting replacements for 17,000 streetlights, Gala Theatre and a number of council owned buildings including schools.

A move to greater numbers of electric vehicles including the council's 26 pool cars. The first two electric vehicles for our service fleet were introduced to operations in January 2020.

A substantial programme of tree planting supported by successful schemes such as the £820 000 Woodland Revival and £1million Urban Tree Challenge Fund, as well as new schemes such as a commitment to plant 10,000 trees in each Area Action Partnership area. In total this would be an estimated 358,000 trees on top of the estimated 953,142 from 2000 to date.

The council (measured in 2018/19) has already reduced its carbon footprint by 47% from 2008/9 levels.

A £3million additional support for new climate change projects (in addition to existing commitments, European funded and invest to save projects).

Our Climate Action Plan is due to go before Cabinet on the 12th of February.

Further information is available.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Region North West

Target Carbon Neutral City Region by 2038

Project Published a strategy in Feb 2019 in partnership with the Tyndall centre for climate change lead organisations on UK climate change. Growth in line with their Local Industrial Strategy.

Related costs 45 MW additional low carbon power. 10.3 TWh of additional low carbon heat.

Further information is available

Manchester City Council

Region North West

Target to be zero carbon by 2038

Project Construction on Manchester City’s Civic Quarter Heat Network to generate low carbon power for the city has begun. Initially 5 buildings will be connected to their HN.

Related costs £20 million project

Carbon saving Save 3100 tonnes of CO2 emissions in first five years

Further information is available.

Oldham Council

Region North West

Target Declared a climate emergency and make the council carbon neutral by 2025

Project Developing the Oldham Code, requiring better insulation, harvesting rainwater, and high efficiency heating based on a project called Rethinking Electricity Distribution Without Load Following (RED WoLF). This is the design of an all-electric heating system, combining solar cell renewable energy generation with battery storage and modern storage heaters.

Further information is available.

Warrington Borough Council

Region North West

Target Declared a climate emergency and be carbon neutral by 2030

Project Warrington borough council is building a major solar power project across two sites at York and Hull to produce green electricity to power the equivalent of 18,000 homes. The York site will consist of a 34.7MWp hybrid solar farm plus a 27MW battery storage system. The whole site will have a 25.7MWp solar farm, will provide all the council’s electricity needs and will cut energy bills by £2 million a year. Both projects will cost a total of £62 million, generate £150 million over 30 years and save 31,000 tonnes of carbon emissions (based on replacing a combined cycle gas turbine power station)

Related costs £62.34 million cost and will generate a surplus of £150 million over 30 years

Carbon saving 31, 000 (based on replacing a CCGT power station)

Further information is available.

Kent County Council

Region South East

Target declared a climate change emergency and countywide target of net zero emissions by 2050. Zero waste to landfill by 2020.

Project Worked with Salix Finance who provided an interest-free loan to upgrade 120,000 streetlights to LED lighting. The loan is usually repaid from energy savings within a 5 year period (projects exceeding this will repay more per annum than the energy savings or can be part funded).

Related costs The cost of CO2e must be less than £191 per tonne over the lifetime of the project.

Further information is available.

Oxford City Council

Region South East

Target Declared a climate emergency in January 2019, to become net zero as a Council in 2020, and will be introducing the UK's first city centre zero emission zone starting in December 2020.

Project Plans for a zero-emission zone starting in December 2020. Under current proposals, it will see the introduction of a charging scheme in the Red Zone between 7am-7pm, with a £10 charge for non-compliant vehicles entering the zone. All Black Cabs licensed in the city now required to move from 0% electric today to 100% zero-emitting by 2025 and all buses running in most of the city to have one of the cleanest (Euro 6) engines by 2020 then be zero emitting by 2035 at the latest.

Further information is available.

Runnymede Borough Council

Region South East

Project Reduce demand for energy and lower carbon dioxide emissions

Further information is available.

West Sussex County Council

Region South East

Target In 2011, West Sussex County Council committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 50% by 2022. By 2018/19 it had achieved a 46% reduction in its carbon emissions from its original baseline. its annual sustainability report shows how they achieved this. In April 2019, WSCC's Full Council passed a motion pledging to try to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Project West Sussex County Council has installed solar panels on 80 schools to generate zero-carbon electricity and help them reduce their energy bills and impact on the environment. The schools simply purchase the green electricity from the council at a reduced rate compared to the electricity they would usually buy from the National Grid. This will lower school energy bills by £2,000 per year on average and save the County Council’s overall school energy budget £158,000 in the first year. These savings will increase over time as the cost of grid electricity rises.  This complements a Salix-funded programme of energy efficiency projects in West Sussex schools, including low-energy lighting upgrades.

Related costs Installation at no cost to the schools and council meet operation and maintenance costs.

Further information is available.

South Somerset District Council

Region South West

Target declared a climate emergency

Project Council has partnered with Opium Power Limited to create a new 25MW battery storage facility to provide power assistance to the national grid. This went live in March 2019

Related costs Invested £9.8 million

Further information is available.

Stroud District Council

Region South West

Target Council became carbon neutral in 2015; councillors have committed to make the district carbon neutral by 2030. The first council to achieve carbon neutrality on its own estates in Europe in 2015.

Project Created post of 'carbon neutral project officer' and ringfenced funding from its business rate pilot gain to support work.

Further information is available.

Telford and Wrekin Council

Region West Midlands

Target declared a climate emergency and target to be carbon neutral by 2030 and free of single use plastic by 2023

Project Built a 4MW solar farm that powers 800 homes per annum and is expected to create a profit of £5 million over 25 years

Further information is available.

Leeds City Council

Region Yorkshire and Humber

Target declared a climate emergency, target to be carbon neutral by 2030

Project Launching a Clean Charging Air Zone (type B+) in 2020 to encourage businesses to transition to cleaner vehicles.

Further information is available.

Resources from elsewhere 

Energy Systems Catapult - Local Area Energy Planning (2018)

Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) have created a guide for energy planning in local areas as a way of mitigating and adapting to climate change. They cover the importance of energy planning and provide a seven-step process to create successful energy plans in the local area. This would help focus resources on ensuring that each local area in the UK is on track to meet their decarbonisation targets.

Cornwall Council and Citizen's Advice - Local Authority Toolkit: Supporting Fuel Poor and Vulnerable Households (2018)

Cornwall Council and Citizen’s Advice have collaborated to create a toolkit for local authorities and third sector partners to work together to reduce fuel poverty. This toolkit provides local authorities advice on how they can use energy efficiency to support vulnerable households. The guidance suggests how local authorities can use the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) to declare certain households’ requirement to meet the eligibility criteria for affordable warmth. 

Centre for Sustainable Energy - Local Sustainability Energy Assessment Matrix (2017)

The CSE have designed this assessment matrix to help local authorities and other local energy actors to assess their area’s current performance and identify opportunities for improvement. The assessment matrix has five dimensions of action: domestic sector energy, commercial sector energy, fuel poverty, low carbon energy infrastructure and institutional ecosystem.

Good Homes Alliance - Overheating in New Homes (2019)

The Good Homes Alliance have created a toolkit on identifying indicators for overheating in homes, considering that overheating is set to increase with climate change. This toolkit provides 14 key questions that are key factors to tackling overheating and notably mention that providing cooling is not the solution. The toolkit also provides potential next steps, based on the level of risk estimated, as well as a detailed design guidance and risk assessment.