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City mayors and regional leaders sign UK100 Net Zero Pledge

Regional leaders commit to reaching Net Zero at least five years earlier than central government

Mark Moran
11 December 2020
UK100 is a network of over 100 local government leaders who have pledged to secure the future for their communities by shifting to 100% clean energy by 2050
UK100 is a network of over 100 local government leaders who have pledged to secure the future for their communities by shifting to 100% clean energy by 2050

 

Regional leaders from across the UK have committed to going further and faster than central government in their efforts to achieve Net Zero by pledging to eliminate carbon emissions in their communities at least five years earlier than Whitehall.

Co-ordinated by the UK100 non-governmental group, the group of 38 city mayors and council leaders have signed the ‘UK100 Net Zero Pledge’ which explicitly commits them to neutralising their emissions by 2030 and those of their residents and businesses by 2045.

The statement reads: “We will do everything within our power and influence to rapidly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We will bring our council emissions to Net Zero by 2030 and we will work with our residents and businesses to bring our wider communities’ emissions in line with Net Zero as soon as possible (and by 2045 at the latest). We will continue to lead the UK’s response to Net Zero, going ahead of the government goal and taking the first steps with urgency. We will make substantial progress within the next decade to deliver Net Zero. With greater powers, we would go further, faster.”

The declaration marks the start of a year of activities ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

COP26 High Level Climate Action Champion, Nigel Topping, met with the group on 10 December to discuss the importance of local leadership in the UK in enabling greater commitments to be made at COP26.

The group of cross-party leaders will work together over the coming year to push for more funding and powers from central Government which will enable them to go even “further and faster” in the journey to Net Zero. The authorities represent 20.4 million people, almost a third of the UK’s population, including all tiers of local government, all regions in England, and Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland. Five city region mayors have also committed to the pledge.

UK100 is a network of over 100 local government leaders who have pledged to secure the future for their communities by shifting to 100% clean energy by 2050. Polly Billington, Director of UK100, said: “These ambitious local leaders have pledged to do everything within their power to reach Net Zero emissions as soon as possible in a way that benefits their communities with new jobs and skills. From Edinburgh to Cornwall, local leadership, alongside funding and powers is key to winning the Race to Net Zero.” 

The leaders making the pledge come from across the political spectrum. They include:

  • Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol City Council (Labour), said: “The UK100 Net Zero pledge helps cities to share learning rapidly with other local authorities and work with national government on effective solutions to contribute to the UK’s Net Zero Target. We will only succeed working together with our citizens, businesses and other institutions and collaboration is essential for that success.
  • Cllr Adam McVey, Leader of Edinburgh City Council (SNP), said: “Edinburgh’s net-zero by 2030 target recognises the climate emergency we are facing and the need for urgent action to tackle climate change. As Scotland’s capital and economic centre we want to lead the way in demonstrating what cities and local authorities across Scotland can do.”
  • Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham (Labour), said: “We are proud to be supporting the UK100 Net Zero Pledge and making the case for urgent collective action to tackle the climate emergency. With the eyes of the world on the UK ahead of COP26 next year, local authorities can support the Government to set an example for the rest of the world – but we require the funds and flexibility to act quickly and drive the change we need to see.
  • Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands (Conservative), said: “The West Midlands Combined Authority is committed to tackling climate change and is working towards achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2041. UK100 offers a fantastic opportunity to work with other local and combined authorities across the UK, creating the policies we need to achieve our emissions target and unleash a green industrial revolution.”
  • Sir Peter Soulsby, Mayor of Leicester (Labour), said: "The climate emergency affects us all and everyone has a role to play in mitigating its effects. In Leicester, we are proud to have published our first Climate Emergency Strategy and action plan setting out an ambitious vision for how our city needs to change to become carbon-neutral and adapt to the effects of global heating by 2030, or sooner. We are under no illusion about the enormity of this challenge and we know that we cannot do this alone. By coming together with other local authorities as part of the UK 100 Net Zero pledge, we will have a stronger voice in calling upon government to provide the support we need to accelerate this urgent work."
  • Cllr Julian German, Leader of Cornwall Council (independent), said: “The climate emergency represents an existential threat to the very fabric of human society. It is more important than ever that individuals, organisations and governments at all levels show the leadership required to tackle this emergency head on, and the Net Zero Pledge is a strong articulation of the pace and ambition required.”
  • Cllr Dine Romero, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council (Lib Dem), said: “We are introducing the first Clean Air Zone outside London in March 2021 to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide in Bath in the shortest possible time. To achieve our ambition for B&NES to become carbon neutral by 2030, we are providing the leadership to effect change locally on the ground as well as pressing for system change and the resources needed from central government. Being part of UK100 is important in strengthening our arm.”

UK100 is also working with C40 Cities, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM), CDP and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to mobilise a coalition of cities committed to setting and achieving science-based targets and implementing inclusive and resilient climate action ahead of COP26 in Glasgow. The Cities Race to Zero effort has a goal of recruiting 1,000 cities to the Race to Zero.

UK Net Zero Pledge signatories

Authority Signatory (Leader)
Bath and North East Somerset Council Cllr Dine Romero
Birmingham City Council Cllr Ian Ward
Bristol City Council Mayor Marvin Rees
Bury Metropolitan Borough Council Cllr Eamonn O'Brien
Cambridgeshire County Council Cllr Steve Count
London Borough of Camden Cllr Georgia Gould
Cornwall Council Cllr Julian German 
Cotswold District Council Cllr Joe Harris
City of Edinburgh Council Cllr Adam McVey
London Borough of Enfield Cllr Nesil Caliskan
Glasgow City Council Cllr Susan Aitken
Gloucestershire County Council Cllr Mark Hawthorne 
Greater Manchester Combined Authority Mayor Andy Burnham
Royal Borough of Greenwich Cllr Danny Thorpe
London Borough of Islington  Cllr Richard Watts
Leeds City Council Cllr Judith Blake
Leicester City Council Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby
Leicestershire County Council Cllr Nicholas Rushton
London Borough of Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan
Liverpool City Council Mayor Joe Anderson 
Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram 
Milton Keynes Council Cllr Peter Marland
Newcastle City Council Cllr Nick Forbes
Nottingham City Council Cllr David Mellen
Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council Cllr Sean Fielding
Oxford City Council Cllr Susan Brown
Plymouth City Council Cllr Tudor Evans
Reading Borough Council Cllr Jason Brock
Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis 
Solihull Council Cllr Ian Courts
Somerset County Council Cllr David Fothergill
South Gloucestershire Council Cllr Toby Savage
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Cllr Sybil Ralphs 
Stevenage Borough Council Cllr Sharon Taylor 
West Midlands Combined Authority Mayor Andy Street
West of England Combined Authority  Cllr Tim Bowles
Westminster City Council Cllr Rachael Robathan
Wiltshire Council Cllr Philip Whitehead

The UK100 Net Zero Pledge

The people who live in the cities, towns and villages we serve deserve warm homes, secure and affordable energy, clean air and water, and local and seasonal food. They deserve access to thriving nature and healthy landscapes, and to live in a place they can be proud of.
As local leaders across the UK we see the challenges our communities face. We recognise our responsibility to tackle the climate emergency and protect our environment to secure the future for them and for people around the world.
In 2019, the UK Parliament passed legislation to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to Net Zero by 2050. This was to keep in line with international commitment in the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. But science tells us we need to start now and make rapid reductions much sooner.
We will do everything within our power and influence to rapidly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We will bring our council emissions to Net Zero by 2030 and we will work with our residents and businesses to bring our wider communities’ emissions in line with Net Zero as soon as possible (and by 2045 at the latest). 
We will continue to lead the UK’s response to Net Zero, going ahead of the government goal and taking the first steps with urgency. We will make substantial progress within the next decade to deliver Net Zero. With greater powers, we would go further, faster.
We will be bold and brave, carrying out strong climate action now and building prosperous, secure and more resilient communities that are healthier, cleaner and safer, in ways that follow the science and are practical and achievable.
We pledge to assess our largest impacts on climate change, prioritise where action needs to be taken and measure and monitor progress towards targets. We will reduce our emissions at source and limit the use of carbon offsets, to play our part in the global effort to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
As local leaders, we are uniquely placed to help tackle the climate emergency. We are closer to the people who live and work in our communities, so we have a better understanding of their needs. This means we can collaborate with them to build consensus for the solutions we need to transition to a Net Zero society that delivers multiple benefits and is fair, just and works for everyone.
We have come together from local authorities across the UK to share knowledge and collaborate with each other, with businesses and our residents to deliver action now. And we will also use our experience of our ability and achievements to advocate to the UK government in order to accelerate the transition to a Net Zero society.
As a nation, we have demonstrated throughout our history that we are able and willing to lead on finding solutions to the challenges the world faces. The success and prosperity of our nation has largely rested on our ability to harness the power of dirty fossil fuels. It is now our shared responsibility to turn this ingenuity to solving the climate emergency in a way that has a positive impact on our communities. We need to ensure our future is better than our past.
 
 
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