Written evidence submitted by UK100 (CAUK0019)
UK100 is the only network for UK locally elected leaders who have pledged to play their part in the global effort to avoid the worst impacts of climate change by committing to becoming Net Zero before the end of the decade. It brings together local authorities, from cities to the countryside, across all political parties, to share knowledge, collaborate, and petition the UK government with their collective power.
Our submission to this call for evidence follows our involvement in the Climate Assembly UK process, with both our Chief Executive Polly Billington and our Policy Director Jason Torrance giving evidence in the process. Subsequently we have organised roundtables for our network members on convening climate assemblies across their jurisdictions - one in collaboration with University College London and one which was part of the evaluation of the shared future citizens assemblies, which resulted in the development of a tool kit.
Some members have participated in subsequent assemblies and the insight from these can be found on the UK100 website. UK100 is submitting evidence to share our experiences with the process and to highlight that more attention could be given to the process and outcomes of the Climate Assembly UK.
Establishing a long-term framework that supports all local authorities to decarbonise will significantly contribute to successfully reaching the UK’s Net Zero targets. We are undertaking research currently on the elements of what a successful delivery framework for local and national action to reach Net Zero will look like and stand ready to work with the UK Government to develop the transformational tools, governance, skills and partnerships to meet the challenge.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any further information you might need.
Policy and Research Manager
Yes, the Climate Assembly UK process was well-resourced, meaning that input from those that had not previously been engaged or heard was possible - making the process worthwhile through ensuring diverse perspectives were included.
The evidence sessions were well-structured and there was plenty of time for follow up and questions in a safe environment. The profile of participants has helped strengthen the case that new audiences and viewpoints were being engaged, which is important, and therefore makes even more compelling their recommendations.
The communications of the assembly were excellent, garnering strong coverage across local, regional and national media.
It has been an exemplar of how citizens from across the country can come together, debate the huge issues facing us and develop well thought out solutions. And these deliberative processes are rolling out across our network and enabling an understanding of what place-based approaches to Net Zero can look like and highlighting what is required of local and national government to deliver on the commitments set.
We have subsequently convened webinars to enable our network members to hold their own local climate assemblies.
It has had an important impact in raising awareness of the urgency and importance of reaching Net Zero and doing so in an inclusive and collaborative manner. Demonstrating that people need to be engaged in the processes of change that will impact them and ensure that as solutions are rolled out they understand and appreciate the need to act.
The Climate Assembly UK highlighted that bringing a representative sample of people from across a community together to deliberate on climate change usually leads to consensus being built on taking ambitious climate action, acting as a political mandate for decision makers that actually speeds up the implementation of bold policies that work to meet local climate targets.
The work of the Climate Assembly UK is not being cited often enough as an indication of support for climate action.
Across the work of Government and Parliament, the findings need to be used more confidently to support climate action, and to understand the path we have to navigate on achieving net zero with public buy-in, not a reason not to do things, but to understand better what needs to be done to make things palatable/attractive even if in the first instance they are unpopular.
The development of a Net Zero framework to guide how Government intends to work with local authorities, civil society and their citizens needs to be included in the Net Zero Strategy to demonstrate that the Government have heeded the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly UK and that all will be involved in the implementation of the solutions to decarbonise our economy. It will need buy in and support of people and it will need a workforce adequately skilled to deliver. We are currently working on what such a Net Zero framework could look like and our members stand ready to work alongside the Government in realising their vision for a Net Zero UK.