On the latest episode of the Practical Democracy Podcast, guests Myf Nixon and Siôn Ellis Williams from mySociety revealed a significant statistic: that UK councils are responsible for a third of the UK’s emissions.

It sounds surprising at first, because many of the headline-worthy climate policies are those for which national government is responsible – like national energy infrastructure, or carbon levies, or how fossil fuel companies are taxed.

“A third of the UK’s emissions are really under the influence of local government, so either produced by local government or within their power to minimise within the communities that they serve.”

However, while these things are undeniably pressing and important, a lot of the work to do around climate change is…well, work. Things like insulating old social housing stock, and decarbonising buildings, and putting in better infrastructure for public transport and active travel don’t tend to ignite media frenzy because they’re not shocking – most people agree that these things are necessary and that we should be getting on with them. All of these actions fall primarily under the remit of local authorities.

Given that local authorities make up a huge part of our customer base, we have a pretty good idea of the good, important, but frustratingly non-headline-worthy work that’s being done across the country on reducing climate emissions wherever possible. Like, for example, this activity from Falkirk Council:

Falkirk Council's 'Decarbonise Falkirk' activity on Citizen Space

They’re asking residents their views and understanding of low-carbon heating sources to get a better idea of local knowledge and the best way to tackle decarbonised heating in a way that works for the local community.

Or this clean air plan community engagement activity from Camden Council, right at the heart of London:

London Borough of Camden's Clean Air Action Plan 2022-2026 consultation

Camden Council makes it clear they want responses from everyone in the local community – because everyone is affected by air pollution. They’ve used clear, plain language to encourage as many people to take part as possible.

If you want to find out what work your local council is doing reducing its climate impact, you can check out all the engagement activities our customers are running on the Citizen Space Aggregator. Or you can check out mySociety’s wonderfully comprehensive Climate Action Plan Explorer (CAPE). It aggregates all UK council Climate Action Plans and tags, ranks and rates how well each council is doing according to some pretty complex and intelligent metrics.

Check out the latest episode of the Practical Democracy Podcast to hear more about mySociety, the Climate Action Plan Explorer, and how it’s encouraging people from across the country to hold leadership to account over the climate crisis.