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Climate Change blog - What next for local climate action?

In this month’s blog, ADEPT’s policy officer David Dale introduces the Blueprint Coalition’s manifesto for place-based climate action.

It has been a busy couple of years for local climate action policy, from the establishment of the Local Net Zero Forum, to the Skidmore Review and the publication of the updated Net Zero Strategy.

Development of climate adaptation and resilience policy has also been significant, as the Local Government Association has just published its Accelerating adaptation action: councils preparing for climate change report. In addition, the government is preparing the third National Adaptation Programme, which will set the actions that it and others will take to adapt to the challenges of climate change.

The Blueprint Coalition

The Blueprint Coalition is a unique collaboration between local government, environmental and research organisations. The group first came together in 2019 to champion place-based action on climate change and seek more support for local authority delivery. In 2020 we set out five priority asks, together with a longer list of detailed policy and funding changes needed from central government.

We are having some impact. The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has repeatedly highlighted the importance of local authorities to deliver on the UK’s national net zero target and the Skidmore review said that the future of net zero must be local.

But progress is still too slow. In November 2022 the Blueprint Coalition published a progress report which reviewed government action against our original targets. This showed that no area merited a green rating. The CCC’s latest progress report to parliament makes depressing reading too, as it is now less confident that the UK will meet its 2030 goals. The window of opportunity to push for a faster pace of progress is getting ever narrower.

The Blueprint Coalition's Manifesto Asks

Looking ahead to the next general election, likely to be held next year, ADEPT and our partners in the Blueprint Coalition have been reflecting on progress to date (and lack of it) and thinking about how best we can help shape the agenda for the next government.

As the political parties start writing their manifestos, we have a key opportunity to influence how the next government works with local government when it comes to climate delivery. We’ve set out some overarching asks for all political parties to include in their manifestos in this document here. And we have written to key politicians in the main parties to bring these to their attention.

We are calling on political parties to include the following in manifestos:

  • Recognition of the need for a place-based approach with adequate funding and support.
  • Commitment to a genuine partnership with local authority leaders through a more effective Local Net Zero Forum.
  • Commitment to reform and devolve funding streams, and increase flexibility, to enable local authorities to act at the scale and pace required.
  • All future devolution deals should include ambitious plans for place-based actions to reduce carbon emissions, adapt to the impacts of climate change, and restore nature.

We launched these manifesto asks at an online event on Wednesday 12th July at an open webinar. We joined MPs, local government professionals, and leading thinkers to discuss the critical role of local government in delivering the UK’s journey to net zero, and the national policies that could help accelerate local climate action. 

In summary, local climate action has made progress, but remains insufficient to meet the urgency of the climate crisis. The Blueprint Coalition will continue to work together to shape a more effective approach that recognises the importance of a place-based strategy, partnership with local authorities, and adequate funding and flexibility.

Further information


David Dale is ADEPT's policy officer.

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