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Council Climate Action Scorecards – the Winners and Losers

In January, Climate Emergency UK published their Council Climate Plan Scorecards, an assessment of every UK council’s Climate Action Plan against several criteria of excellence.

The key findings were that 20% of councils had not published a climate plan at all and that District Councils were performing notably better than County Councils.

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Only 10 councils performed better than The London Borough of Ealing

They have followed this up – in partnership with mySociety – with the Climate Action Scorecard, assessing the actual progress Councils are making towards net zero.

The research, which lasted nine months, used a team of trained volunteers and consultations with over 80 organisations and experts individuals within the climate sector such as Friends of the Earth and Ashden.

Council climate actions from 1st January 2019 to 31st March 2023 were evaluated and awarded scores in the following categories, based on the answers to 91 questions:

  • Buildings & Heating 
  • Transport 
  • Planning & Land Use 
  • Governance & Finance
  • Biodiversity
  • Collaboration & Engagement
  • Waste Reduction & Food

Different weighting was applied to those categories depending on the council’s ability to influence it. For example 30% of a County Council’s total score was tied up in the Transport category but for a District Council, this was just 5%. Instead the Districts were more dependent on their success in the Planning & Land Use category for a good overall score.

Minus points were also on offer if an action that a council was taking was deemed to be adding to carbon emissions.

Information on the councils’ performance was gather from publicly available material, national data and more than 4,000 Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) requests. 

Annie Pickering, co-Director of Climate Emergency UK said: ‘The Scorecards are also an essential tool for councils and campaigners alike to show them what is possible for local climate action and encourage councils to go further as is needed, to mitigate and adapt to the climate and ecological emergencies we face today’.

Ultimately, only 41 councils in the UK scored over 50% for their climate action, the average score being 32%. In England 30 councils in England  17% or lower while no council achieved such ignominy. 

Of the councils that score 50% or more, 26 are currently Labour run councils, six are in no overall control, five are Conservative, two are Lib Dem and two are run by Independents. 

Overall, the best scores were achieved by London Boroughs, with Westminster top. At the other end of the scale Thurrock managed just 9%.

The full scorecard is available here

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