Get your mayor to take climate action

On 6 May 2021, voters will determine the next metro mayors in 7 regions of England, as well as the London Mayor. This offers us a rare campaigning opportunity to get climate action high on the political agenda. Find out what you can do to help your region's future.

13 Apr 2021

Note on this guidance. Sentences in red are hyperlinked, and will lead you to additional information or downloads you may find useful to your election campaign.

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.

Find out more about the powers and responsibilities of metro mayors.

May 2021 elections

There will be seven metro mayor elections on 6 May 2021, in Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, West Midlands, West of England, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, and West Yorkshire, plus the London Mayor election. We want to influence candidates to commit to protecting people and planet and helping the COVID-19 recovery.

We need the next metro mayors to commit to taking 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.

What can groups do?

We’re calling on groups to come together across city regions to get metro mayoral candidates to commit to protecting people and planet and helping the COVID-19 recovery.

The metro mayor campaign will build alliances with communities and organisations across metro mayoral regions, strengthening the movement and amplifying the call for change across our communities. To find out more about the alliance in your region, and get involved in campaign planning meetings, contact community@foe.co.uk.

We'll use a range of tools and tactics to engage and mobilise communities at a regional level, ensuring candidates are under pressure to commit to decisive action.

We've created Climate Action Plans for mayors covering 10 priorities to protect people and planet and help the COVID-19 recovery (see below).

We're encouraging you to:

  • Arrange meetings with metro mayoral candidates as they prepare for the May 2021 elections. To get started, take a look at our guidance.
  • Invite mayoral candidates to a hustings. Organise an online hustings event between 29 March and 11 April for your metro mayoral candidates. Take a look at our guide on how to set up a hustings.
  • Spread the word. Use our guides on securing media coverage and using social media to help spread the word about your campaign, and inform more people of the importance of the May 2021 elections.
  • Lobby metro mayor candidates to take our public climate pledge...

Action: secure climate pledges

The pledge: "I recognise the important role I have to play in securing a sustainable future for [name of region] and the communities who live within it. My pledge, if elected, is to create an ambitious Climate Action Plan and swiftly deliver the actions necessary to tackle the climate and nature emergencies and build a fairer, greener society for us all."

Whether it's at a hustings, during a meeting or via email, we want groups to encourage as many mayoral candidates as possible to take the pledge. Remember to keep us updated and use our form to let us know if any candidates you've spoken to have agreed or declined to take the Climate Action Pledge.

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.

The next mayor 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.

Find your region's Climate Action Plan

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 currently 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.

Climate Action
Climate Action