More than half the UK’s principal local authorities had declared a climate emergency by the end of July, making it one of the fastest growing environmental movements in recent history, and the first country in the world to reach this landmark, reports the Climate Emergency Network.
In the eight months to end of July, 205 of the UK’s 408 Principal Authorities (County, Unitary, Metropolitan, London Boroughs, District), with widespread support across political groups, have declared a climate emergency, committing them to take urgent action to reduce their carbon emissions at a local level. Many have set 2030 as a target date for going carbon zero, 20 years ahead of central government’s 2050 target.
The declarations are spread geographically. England led the declarations with 54% percentage declaring. Wales came next with 41%, then Scotland with 31% and Northern Ireland with 18%. The landmark 50% was reached after the Local Government Association declared a Climate Emergency at its Annual General Meeting in July and agreed to establish the Climate Emergency Network Special Interest Group, to support councils and lobby central Government.
Cllr. Kevin Frea, co-chair of the Climate Emergency Network and deputy leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “This movement is being led by every political group and is involving local people in planning the actions needed to cut carbon through working groups and citizens assemblies. It has re-engaged people in their local councils: public galleries have been packed when motions to declare are discussed, with many residents – including experts and young people – speaking in the debates.
“Combined with a recent poll showing that climate change has overtaken Brexit as the public’s top concern, it gives me hope that the Government will have to take notice soon and provide the legislation and resources that we need to put our climate emergency declarations fully into practice.”