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Toolkit: 31 Actions

Ashden’s mission is to accelerate transformative climate solutions and build a more just world. Our focus is where the need is urgent and the potential for impact great: creating liveable cities and increasing access to sustainable, affordable energy. In each case, we see massive potential for rapid change and transformational benefits for millions of people.

To help UK councils to deliver their climate action plans, we have worked with Friends of the Earth and with support from CDP to put together an evidence-based list of the most effective actions councils can take on climate. These 31 actions are quantified in terms of likely carbon savings, approximate cost and co-benefits. They also point to examples of best practice around the UK. We have looked for real examples of where these actions have been implemented, wherever possible, and have used the best data we can find but have had to make a range of assumptions.

The 31 actions cover a range of different, inter-related topics: raising money; buildings; transport; the council’s estate; power generation; waste; land use; and influencing others.

So what have we learnt from our research and from speaking with lots of councils across the UK? Three observations come to mind immediately:

  1. Different councils are at different stages, but there is a lot that councils can learn from each other in taking climate action;
  2. Partnerships with other councils are essential to leverage funding and impact;
  3. Partnerships with local community groups and businesses are essential if the shared carbon neutrality goals in the local plans are to be achieved.

It makes sense for the green-recovery to be place-based and for local councils to be the owners of these local climate action plans. This 31 actions toolkit is a way for councils and other stakeholders to identify easily and quickly the actions with the biggest potential impact, without the need for extensive baseline research.

The 31 actions are downloadable as an Excel spreadsheet that can be filtered for ease-of-use. This resource has already been used by many councils across London, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact us directly at [email protected]

Cara Jenkinson is part of the Ashden Liveable Cities team which works with UK towns and cities to  help them realise their sustainability ambitions. In addition to ’31 Climate Actions For Local Councils’, Cara has helped publish a  ‘Climate Action Co-benefits’ toolkit, also intended for local authorities.

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