13 Sep 2021
What is a metro mayor?
A metro mayor is the directly elected leader of a combined authority. Combined Authorities are statutory bodies made up neighbouring local authorities. Some are known as city regions.
Mayors have important powers they can use to ensure their regions are as climate and nature friendly as possible. By taking action at a regional level, they can also show the national government where the communities’ priorities lie, what can be done, and how we expect them to follow suit.
Over 20% of England’s carbon emissions are produced in areas governed by metro mayors and Combined Authorities. Whoever is elected as the next mayor can’t single-handedly solve the nature and climate crises, nor the pandemic, but must use the powers they have to make as big a difference as possible.
There are seven metro mayors in England; Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, West Midlands, West of England, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, and West Yorkshire, plus the London Mayor.
We need metro mayors to take ambitious climate action to make our city regions as climate- and nature-friendly as possible, at the same time as responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To recover from the pandemic, we need a just transition to a low-carbon, nature-rich, circular economy, and to unlock the green job opportunities this will bring. Tackling the climate, nature and COVID-19 crises must be done in a way which benefits everyone, no matter their income, race, age or background.
Climate Action Plan for your region's mayor
We’re calling on groups to come together across city regions to get metro mayors to commit to protecting people and planet and helping the COVID-19 recovery.
We’ve created tailored Climate Action Plans for metro mayors that present a low-carbon vision for each region, point to evidence of the need for change and – crucially – the practical actions needed to tackle the climate crisis.
Climate Action Plans are available for Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, West Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, West of England and West Midlands.
We also have a Climate Action Plan for the London Mayor.
May 2021 elections
On 6 May 2021, there were elections in all seven metro mayoral regions, plus London. Groups across the country campaigned for metro mayoral candidates to pledge to protect people and planet and help the COVID-19 recovery. Thanks to pressure from local campaigners and supporters, 6 out of 8 winning mayors took the pledge:
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough: Nik Johnson (Labour and Co-operative Party – pledged ✅
Greater Manchester: Andy Burnham (Labour and Co-operative Party) - ✅
Liverpool City Region: Steve Rotheram (Labour Party) - pledged ✅
West of England: Dan Norris (Labour Party) - pledged ✅
West Midlands: Andy Street (Conservative and Unionist Party) - pledged ✅
West Yorkshire: Tracy Brabin (Labour and Co-operative Party) - pledged ✅
Tees Valley: Ben Houchen (Conservative and Unionist Party) - not pledged ❌
Greater London: Sadiq Khan (Labour Party) - not pledged ❌
What can groups do?
With time to act on the climate and nature emergencies running out, it’s crucial that newly elected mayors take action immediately. We’re calling on all metro mayors to meet with local campaigners, create a taskforce to deliver green jobs in the region, and demonstrate their commitment to addressing the climate and ecological emergencies in their first 100 days as mayor.
If you would like to be part of the metro mayor campaign going forward, please email [email protected]
Protecting the most vulnerable
Tackling the climate, nature and COVID-19 crises must be done in a way which benefits everyone, no matter their income, race, age or background.
It’s essential to address the sheer scale of inequalities that exist. People who are most marginalised – both here in the UK and across the world – have done the least to cause climate breakdown and are the least able to rebound from its impacts.
People on lower incomes, and particularly Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, suffer most from the lack of nature and green space in our towns and cities. This is also true of air pollution, despite a smaller proportion of lower-income and BAME people owning cars than others.
Young people’s futures are most at risk from climate breakdown and the decline of nature, and they’re also disproportionately impacted by the economic impact of COVID-19.
Metro mayors must also shift how the success of a COVID-19 recovery plan is measured. Rather than focusing on economic growth, metrics should identify whether the plan reduces poverty, decreases inequalities, increases wellbeing, and meets carbon reduction and nature restoration goals.