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 Localism and climate changelocalism2150

The localism agenda is central to the coalition government’s programme for government and it is essential that we understand its implications for continued local action on climate change.

Our report, Is localism delivering for climate change?, explores some key questions: 

  • Are local authorities continuing to work on climate change and how is action being encouraged? 
  • Is the government’s aspiration for a partnership approach to tackling climate change between the centre and the local realistic? 
  • What potential do new avenues like local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), local nature partnerships (LNPs) and neighbourhood plans offer for strengthening local action on climate change?

We interviewed a wide range of key stakeholders, conducted a survey of local authorities on climate change and ran four focus groups to gather civil society views.

The survey revealed a three-way split between local authorities, which has been strongly borne out by interviews and wider research.

  • 37 per cent are deprioritising climate change or state that it was never a priority.
  • 35 per cent remain firm in their commitment to climate change and believe that action could even increase in the context of localism
  • 28 per cent are narrowing their ambitions to focus on reducing emissions from their estate and ceasing work on wider environmental issues.

Other sections of the report analyse the low carbon potential of LEPs and whether sustainability features in neighbourhood plan front runners. Full details can be accessed by reading the full report or its executive summary here.

We are grateful to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation for their support of this work.

Other work

  • Planning reform – debate over changes to planning has dominated summer 2011. Green Alliance has been playing a crucial co-ordination role. Read the issue of Inside Track on planning here and other coverage here and here.
  • Catalyst debate – this event brought a panel and audience of experts together to debate what will make localism work for the environment. See details and watch the debate here.
  • What does the Big Society mean for action on climate change? We held a major conference in early 2011 to explore this question. See full details and listen to audio recordings here. And read our dedicated edition of Inside Track here.