The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

UK Councils Need More Resources to Start Delivering on Net-Zero

UK Councils Need more Resources to Start Delivering on Net-Zero
18 May 2022
 

50 UK-wide council representatives were interviewed about their net-zero strategies, and the results indicate a feeling that significantly more support and resources are needed.

Councils were asked about their current net-zero journeys, the most important factors, challenges they faced, their understanding of their own council’s carbon footprint and offsetting proportions. 

The research, conducted by property advisers Cluttons and sustainability consultants AESG, found that 58 per cent of council respondents were still in the initial stages of their net-zero strategies.

11 per cent had not yet started their journey. Just over a quarter were in the “delivery” phase of their strategy to date. 

Over two-thirds of respondents (71 per cent) said financing was their greatest challenge to getting started on their net-zero journey.

When it came to the main drivers for councils setting their net-zero strategies, most cited the financial savings that came from achieving carbon reductions and the environmental benefits that it would bring to the local area.

 

"Despite net-zero targets rapidly approaching, the majority of local councils are still unaware as to how they will be expected to meet these, questioning whether these targets and declaration of climate emergencies were made as they were seen as achievable goals or in response to public pressure and statutory obligations."

–Niall Keighron

Sustainability Practitioner, Cluttons

 

Lack of Understanding of Current Carbon Footprint and Offsetting

 

The research seems to indicate a potential skills shortage when it comes to understanding not only net-zero roadmaps but carbon footprints themselves.

24 per cent of councils and government representatives had a ‘clear’ or ‘comprehensive’ understanding of their current carbon footprint, with 37 per cent stating they did not understand their carbon footprint.

68 per cent did not know if their strategy included offsetting.

 

Image

 

Overambitious Commitments?

 

Another issue highlighted by the research is a lack of understanding of how ambitious net-zero targets will be achieved.

Overall, the findings from the survey suggest that despite over 75 per cent of local authorities in the UK now declaring a climate emergency, very few have a clear understanding of how their targets will be achieved.

Cluttons and AESG suggest that this may be due to making ambitious commitments in response to public pressure, rather than a sincere belief that net-zero targets will be met.

Niall Keighron, Sustainability Practitioner at Cluttons, commented: “These results highlight the challenges that most councils are currently facing. Despite net-zero targets rapidly approaching, the majority of local councils are still unaware as to how they will be expected to meet these, questioning whether these targets and declaration of climate emergencies were made as they were seen as achievable goals or in response to public pressure and statutory obligations.

“Again, this is where the private sector can help bridge the gap between what’s expected and what is practical and engage councils and communities accordingly.” 

Picture: a photograph of several post-it notes pinned to a notice board Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 18 May 2022

Share



Related Articles

EU Sets New Rules For Tackling Corporate Greenwashing

From 2024, large companies will need to publicly disclose information on the way they operate and manage social and environmental risks.   Watch the...

 Read Full Article
SFMI and BAM FM Launch Scope 3 FM Carbon Standard

The Sustainable Facilities Management Index and BAM FM have teamed up with an industry peer group of businesses to develop a standardised approach to calculating carbon...

 Read Full Article
Festival of Sustainable Business 2022 – Mini Highlights Reel

ThisWeekinFM attended Bristol’s Paintworks for The Festival of Sustainable Business 2022, finding out about different approaches that can future-proof our...

 Read Full Article
West Berkshire and Reading Borough Councils Pilot Smart Energy Systems

A pilot project to create a smart energy system in Thames Valley has successfully connected four of West Berkshire Council’s sites to the growing network. The...

 Read Full Article
ICMS3 Set to Simplify Carbon Reporting in Construction

The world’s first universal standard for reporting carbon dioxide emissions in the construction industry has been published. An international coalition of...

 Read Full Article
If There is a Race to Net-Zero, No One's a Winner 

James Gray, Managing Partner at Cluttons, reveals his insights on how the race to net-zero will affect the property industry. James has over 27 years of experience...

 Read Full Article
British Council for Offices Defines Standards for the Net-Zero Workplace

The British Council for Offices has released several new reports to help the commercial property industry to future proof the office sector when it comes to...

 Read Full Article
THE LINE by NEOM – An Experiment in Future Built Environments

First announced in January 2021 by His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and Chair of the NEOM Company Board of Directors, THE LINE is...

 Read Full Article
CBRE’s Vision for Sustainable Facilities Management

Workplace experts from CBRE outline a practical framework for delivering sustainable facilities management, aimed at helping FMs deliver on their business'...

 Read Full Article
Spotlight Interview – Oliver Boote | Mace for Colt

Oliver Boote is the UK Facilities Manager at Mace for Colt. He manages 10 sites across the UK, delivering first-class facilities and workplace services across his...

 Read Full Article