This May, we have an opportunity to ensure hundreds of councils, no matter their political party, take climate breakdown seriously and commit to making our towns and cities greener and fairer for everyone. Find out how you and your group can get involved.

26 Feb 2021

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

If we’re going to create the global change we need, the best thing we can do is start by transforming where we live.

This May, people across England will have the chance to vote for their local councillors in around 150 areas. With some elections having been postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic, this will be the biggest ever series of council elections in England.

Press play and find out why local government matters and how councils can help stop climate breakdown.

Secure a climate pledge from candidates

The council elections are a prime opportunity to get real and ambitious climate commitments from your current and future local councillors, by getting them to sign up to this pledge:

If elected I pledge to ensure that our council works with local residents to rapidly implement a Climate Action Plan which drastically cuts emissions over the next 10 years, and that the climate and ecological emergency is a deal breaker in all council actions.

Remember to keep us updated with the commitments you collect from candidates by filling in our simple pledge form. We'll be producing some pledge templates for you to use and share with councillors in February, so keep an eye on this page.

Getting pledges from your candidates is an important way to make sure the climate emergency is on their agenda if elected. We recommend you secure a pledge by either meeting with your candidates or organising a hustings.

And as well as securing a commitment on this pledge, you can use these elections as an opportunity to get your candidates to make commitments on issues that are important to your local area.

Meeting with your candidates

Meeting one-to-one with candidates is a good way of understanding their priorities and a chance to identify how committed they are to acting on the climate and ecological emergencies.

There may be lots of candidates in your local area, so you'll need to decide who you’re going to meet. For example, you could request meetings with all the candidates standing for election in your ward. However, candidates may not be confirmed until Friday 9 April 2021, so if you want to get started earlier, you could arrange meetings with representatives from each of the political parties that hold seats in your council.

We encourage you to share the Climate Action Plan for Councils with your candidates, either ahead of any meetings you may have, at the meeting itself or by email. It'll help focus your discussion, ensure they're in no doubt of your vision for the local authority area and give you a chance to push them on their plans.

Ask candidates if they’ll commit to implement, or continue to implement, an ambitious Climate Action Plan for your area. If you have the candidates support, ask them to sign up to your pledge (see above). Read our guide to meeting with your election candidates for more information.

Organise a hustings

A hustings is a panel discussion in the run-up to an election, where candidates debate policies and answer questions from the audience.

They're a great way to publicly push candidates to make commitments on taking climate action. As local council candidates may not be confirmed until Friday 9 April 2021, we recommend holding your hustings after this date. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hustings will need to be held online this year.

Read our guide on how to organise and host an online hustings.

You may want to work with other local allies and campaign groups when you’re lobbying candidates or holding hustings. Your campaign will be more stronger and more impactful when you collaborate and build alliances across your community. Find out how to build alliances.

Get the word out

The more people that hear about your campaign the better. Find out how you can use social media and get media coverage to spread the word:

Keep in touch

Email us on community@foe.co.uk or get in touch on Slack to let us know how your campaign is going.

Elections