Councils up and down the country have made commitments to take climate action. But now, they must also respond to the COVID-19 crisis and develop a recovery plan. Is it possible to tackle both crises at the same time?

07 Dec 2021

Climate Action Plan for councils

Councils have a key part to play in addressing the climate and ecological emergencies. Climate change can’t be side-lined because of the COVID-19 crisis. Climate change, nature restoration and the COVID-19 recovery need to be addressed simultaneously. The good news is that action on climate change and nature is good for COVID-19 recovery and our health.

To help guide them in the right direction, we’ve created a template Climate Action Plan for councils in England and Wales, with 50 concrete steps they should take. We also have a 40 point template Climate Action Plan for councils in Northern Ireland.

Thanks to campaigns run by Climate Action Groups and other community groups, over 80% councils have now adopted Climate Action Plans. But they need the help of local residents to make sure these plans are as ambitious as possible – that’s where you come in. We need communities to keep working together to convince their councils that an ambitious climate action plan is necessary in its own right but also will significantly contribute to COVID-19 recovery. The template Climate Action Plans can be adapted to suit your area – after all, you know best what your community needs.

And as more and more communities and councils take climate action across the UK, pressure will mount on the national government to do the same. So let’s get to it.

How to use the plan

  1. Download the Climate Action Plan for councils in England and Wales, or the Climate Action Plan for Northern Ireland.
  2. Discuss the Climate Action Plan with your group and allies – you might find our Explainer Guides helpful. Then edit the actions to reflect your local context.
  3. Research what your council is already doing, particularly whether they have a Covid-19 recovery plan and/or Climate Action Plan. You can find out if your council already has a Plan in Climate Emergency's database.
  4. Prioritise the most important actions for your council to take straight away. Our handy postcode lookup tool is a good place to start.
  5. Get your community behind the plan. Organise on-line events and panel discussions. We’ve produced guides and tips on how to campaign during the COVID-19 crisis.
  6. Listen to what others think about how the plan could be improved and implemented.
  7. Lobby the council to adopt a plan or to make their plan more ambitious if they already have one. Start an online petition, organise socially distanced events and demonstrations, talk to the local media, and arrange meetings with your local councillors.
Types of local authorities and the powers they have
Which actions can each type of local authority take? Friends of the Earth

Table: Functions and powers for different tiers of government in England

As our campaign progresses and we continue to share and learn from each other, we will likely adapt the Climate Action Plan for councils. So please let us know if you have any feedback by emailing [email protected]. Ready to get stuck in? Take a look at our detailed guide for developing an ambitious Plan with your council.

Climate Action