Seven out of 10 councils lack finance for net-zero transition

20th May 2022

Web Town hall credit i Stock 660399180

Related Topics


Chris Seekings

Financial constraints are the biggest challenge for seven out of 10 councils when looking to achieve net-zero emissions, a survey of decision-makers at 50 UK local authorities has uncovered.

The poll by consultancy firms Cluttons and AESG found that a lack of skills and time are the next biggest obstacles to net zero, suggesting that they need more support from central government and the private sector.

Of the councils surveyed, 58% were still in the initial stages of their environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies, while 11% had not started yet, and just over a quarter were in the delivery phase.

Worryingly, 69% of respondents said that they were not clear, or only had an average understanding, of their council's net-zero strategy. Just 27% had a clear understanding.

When it comes to carbon footprints, only 24% had a clear or comprehensive understanding of these, despite over 75% of local authorities in the UK having now declared a climate emergency.

“It is clear that councils need a lot more support and resource – not just for implementing the strategies, but to help create them, understand what’s needed and accelerate towards delivery,” said Niall Keighron, sustainability practitioner at Cluttons.

“The council representatives themselves state that finance, skills and time/resource are the biggest obstacles to overcome. By sharing expert insight and practical know-how we can work with councils to meet net-zero challenges head on and supercharge the UK’s drive towards net zero.”

Most councils cited financial savings from carbon reductions, environmental benefits and government regulations as the biggest drivers for them setting net-zero strategies.

Keighron added: “Despite net-zero targets rapidly approaching, the majority of local councils are still unaware as to how they will be expected to meet these, questioning whether these targets and declaration of climate emergencies were made as achievable goals or in response to public pressure and statuary obligations.

“Again, this is where the private sector can help bridge the gap between what’s expected and what is practical and engage councils and communities accordingly.”

Image credit: iStock

Transform articles

UK not on track to deliver net zero, CCC warns

The UK's strategy for decarbonising the economy will not deliver net-zero emissions by 2050 if progress continues on its current trajectory, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has warned today.

29th June 2022

Read more

The UK Infrastructure Bank has today published a £22bn plan to tackle climate change and boost regional growth, making clean energy the largest area of investment.

23rd June 2022

Read more

Europe can achieve a clean, reliable and expanded power system by 2035 with a similar overall cost to current plans for a smaller and more polluting supply, new modelling has found.

22nd June 2022

Read more

Climate-related floods and droughts are set to impact millions more people and cost the world’s major cities $194bn (£158bn) every year by 2050, new forecasts suggest.

22nd June 2022

Read more

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has revealed that the vast majority of its members in the pensions and long-term savings industry are now part of the UN's Race to Net Zero campaign.

9th June 2022

Read more

Three-quarters of UK pension schemes have plans to align their investments with net-zero emissions, or will do within the next two years, a recent survey has found.

26th May 2022

Read more

Tom Pashby talks about why the new Natural History GCSE is such an important step forward for climate and biodiversity preservation

26th May 2022

Read more

Tom Pashby gauges IEMA members’ reactions to recent IPCC reports

26th May 2022

Read more

The climate targets of oil and gas majors rely heavily on emissions mitigation technologies (EMTs) that are expensive and unproven at scale, analysis by Carbon Tracker has uncovered.

12th May 2022

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert