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New guidance published to help councils take action on the climate emergency

New guidance published to help councils take action on the climate emergency

Home » New guidance published to help councils take action on the climate emergency

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) has today published a new set of recommendations to help UK councils tackle the Climate Emergency, based on a series of workshops with 10 Staffordshire councils.

Facilitated by CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain Innovation Lab — a process that brings together a range of stakeholders to share ideas and discuss sustainable solutions to achieve net zero — and supported by Keele University, participating councils came together to explore barriers and co-design solutions based on their experiences and CAT’s expertise. The findings from the workshops were then used by the CAT team to create a set of recommendations to support other councils in taking action on the climate emergency.

It comes as more than 330 councils of 409 have declared a Climate Emergency.

Dr Anna Bullen, CAT Innovation Lab Manager, said: “Across the UK, councils have already acknowledged the urgency of tackling climate change and are committed to taking action — but limited resource and in-house expertise continues to be a challenge and barrier to reaching zero carbon. We hope that sharing practical learnings and recommendations as widely as possible will support councils in meeting these targets.

“The process helped the participants to better understand the barriers to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, create a vision for their county, and set out objectives towards achieving their individual and collective aims across a number of themes — from resourcing to stakeholder engagement and shared learning.

“As a result of the Lab, Staffordshire councils now plan to collaborate at a county scale to save money, work more efficiently and have a better chance of making progress at the speed and scale needed — aspirations which are undoubtedly shared by councils UK-wide.”

To read the report, please visit

Recommendations for councils include:

  • High-level decision-makers and elected members must consider the climate and biodiversity emergencies and related issues in all decisions, making the climate and biodiversity emergencies a fixed item on regular meeting agendas
  • Form a small working group of decision makers from each council in the county or region to co-ordinate cross-council climate action
  • Establish an independently-led regional climate hub, including external partners, to act as a steering group for all matters related to addressing the climate and biodiversity emergencies – to work with the cross-council working group
  • Review internal structures to reduce silo working and promote genuine distributed responsibility, drawing on approaches in other councils
  • Include a focus on opportunities for collaboration as part of a governance working group, with a view to creating working groups to lead on each area
  • Share regular internal communications reminding staff of the council’s Climate Emergency declaration and commitment to achieving net zero
  • Address any differences between councils in net zero targets and scope, with a view to aligning them
  • Provide comprehensive training across all service areas to include carbon literacy, leadership, facilitation, collaboration and co-design
  • Bring together people across the county to collaboratively map stakeholders and design an engagement strategy; provide workshops and training on effectively engaging with community groups and other local stakeholders
  • Hold a workshop with finance officers, procurement officers and senior management from across councils to focus on resourcing
  • Develop a cross-council collaborative online platform and community (e.g. through Microsoft Teams) to create a ‘safe space’ to share information, offer ideas and ask questions


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