For immediate release: Wednesday 29th May 2024

Climate Emergency UK uncover new Council Climate Action Scorecards methodology

Following the publication of the Council Climate Action Scorecards in 2023, Climate Emergency UK has now released the updated draft methodology for a repeat scoring of councils on the actions they are taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is the first step towards the second Council Climate Action Scorecards, which will be published in Summer 2025.

The methodology sets out the process Climate Emergency UK will use to score each council in 2024/25, based on publicly available information from councils and national datasets. As with the last Scorecards, there will be a three stage marking process, including a Right of Reply for all councils.

The majority of questions in the updated methodology remain the same. There are four new questions, but not all apply to all council types. The new questions cover councils’ plans on improving green space in planning, their building decarbonisation plans and if councils provide a way for staff – via trade unions or otherwise – to engage with a councils’ decarbonisation plans.

Overall, the methodology comprises the seven same sections, including Biodiversity, Collaboration & Engagement and Buildings & Heating. Questions cover all actions that councils can take towards net zero.

These include cutting councils’ own emissions, such as through decarbonisation of vehicles and buildings; and more widely across their area, for example by introducing planning policy to build new homes to net zero standards and retrofitting homes, raising funds for climate action, protecting green spaces or working in partnership with residents and local businesses on decarbonisation projects.

Annie Pickering, Operations Director at Climate Emergency UK said: “We’re excited to share our updated draft methodology for the next Scorecards, which we believe is much improved in terms of providing greater clarity on some questions and better reflecting the reality of council climate action across the UK. The updates have been introduced as a result of consultation with councils and residents who shared their thoughts with us on how the questions can be more accurate and useful to understand council climate action.”

“By publishing the draft methodology before we start marking, as we did last year, we want to ensure that we score councils as accurately as possible. This draft methodology gives councils some time to prepare, and make sure those important documents and evidence of their climate action are publicly available for us to find”. 

There are now 93, rather than 91 questions, with question clarifications across all sections. Governance & Finance and Transport have seen the most updates, including a small number of amendments to the question weighting, to better account for the reality of emission reductions, and the different situations in relation to air quality between rural and urban councils. 

Ania Campbell (Climate Change Manager at North Kesteven District Council), a member of this year’s Scorecards Advisory Group, who helped review and update the methodology,  said “I appreciate the opportunity to work with Climate Emergency UK on the updated Action Scorecards methodology. As a local authority, we value that CE UK are engaging with us to understand how to better reflect and score against their criteria. By engaging with local authorities, they are working towards the development of the Scorecards as an effective tool that can guide UK councils to gauge their own progress and learn from each other. It may also prove a useful national lobbying tool for evidenced-based deliveries where common challenges exist.”

Miss Pickering added “As the climate crisis worsens with the planet enduring record hot temperatures for April 2024 and continuing, council climate action has never been more urgent. Whilst there are national barriers to council climate action, 30% of progress towards net zero is within the scope of influence of local authorities. So it is vital that councils do everything they can, and quickly within current national constraints – waiting for change is not an option.”

The Scorecards are already proving a useful tool for campaigners and councils alike to better understand what climate action is possible from UK local authorities, and hold councils to account on their progress. So far, Climate Emergency has found that one in five UK councils are using, referencing and learning from the Scorecards in their climate work, for example by using the tool for  benchmarking and peer-learning in Environmental and Audit committees. 

Climate Emergency UK will start scoring councils on their climate action this summer, with the Action Scorecard results to be published in Summer 2025. You can read full methodology on the Scorecard website.


Notes for Editors