Our climate advocacy messages

London boroughs are encouraged to use our narrative and these messages in their communications and in designing events in the run up to COP26, so that we have these coming through as clear themes in borough activities.

Climate change is a fast moving space so we ensure we remain up to date and relevant by making regular updates to the messages too. 

Role of local government

Local government will be an essential partner in delivering the transition to net zero, thanks to its unique understanding of local context and strong local relationships.

To maximise the boroughs’ contribution, national government must put in place a clear framework for regional and local climate delivery and a just transition that creates good jobs, supported by the right powers, resources and incentives.

Green investment

We want London and cities across the UK to deliver sustainable economic growth through green investment as part of the Covid reset. With a strong pipeline and mechanisms already in place, London is poised to become a green economic hub.

To enable the growth of the low carbon economy, national government must ramp up funding for green skills and training to ensure the transition to net zero is just, creating jobs, prosperity and security for all of London’s communities.

We must ensure that the National Infrastructure Bank is able to support place-based delivery and localised approaches across the UK, so that all communities can benefit from the opportunities presented.

Retrofitting homes

London local government is developing an extensive retrofitting programme to increase energy efficiency and low carbon heating in London’s homes by 2030.

National government must enable the boroughs to deliver these ambitious goals by providing effective programmes, long-term financing and regulatory support.

Retrofitting also requires a robust supply chain, supported by funding for green skills training, which will in turn support a just transition, green jobs and the green recovery.

Transport (infrastructure)

London’s large and complex transport network is central to achieving net zero emissions in the capital.

While keeping London moving is a challenge, boroughs have proven the extent of what they can deliver by working with partners, for example the collaborative delivery of electric vehicle charge points across the capital.

To enable a green recovery that allows all Londoners to move around safely and sustainably, we need to redesign our highways, giving better and more inclusive access to active travel options.


Flooding has been high up the agenda in London and many other places. Our lines on the flooding situation are:

  • Following the flooding events of 12 and 25 July three roundtables have been held with participation from a wide range of stakeholders. It was agreed that improving communication during events and integrating adaptation into longer term planning are issues for the prevention of surface water flooding in London.
  • A task and finish group to investigate the issues around flood risk management within London will be established, with Mayor Philip Glanville, Chair of the London CouncilsTransport and Environment Committee.  
  • These flash floods can have a significant, negative effect on highways infrastructure, which has financial implications.
  • We welcome the significant funding commitment government has made to the Thames RFCC over the next six years and look to work collaboratively to ensure that flood risk from all sources is adequately addressed.

Spending review 2021

London Councils climate lines on the Spending Review are as follows:  

London’s recovery must be a green recovery if net zero targets are to be met. This requires upfront funding and flexibilities including:

Green investment - to begin to unlock over £200bn of private investment required to deliver net zero across the UK’s 12 biggest cities; we are seeking £30m up-front funding for the next phase of the UK Cities Climate Investment Commission work.

Domestic retrofit – to start delivering the £98bn of investment needed to retrofit all London homes, the £3.8bn Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and £2.5bn Home Upgrade Grant must be delivered, and financial incentives to encourage private retrofitting must be provided.

The Green Economy – to accelerate low carbon skills development, we’re seeking flexibility to enable councils to join up existing National Skills Fund, National Retraining Scheme and App Levy at the local level.

To support a sustainable transport system in London, we’re seeking:

  • A sustainable medium-term financial settlement for TfL.
  • Certainty over £75m of Active Travel and Healthy Streets funding (borough LIP funding) by decoupling it from TfL.
  • Devolution of Vehicle Excise Duty for London’s £1.1bn road maintenance backlog.

Latest updates to our messages

Role of local government

September 2021 updates

The Net Zero Strategy is where we expect the role of local authorities to be articulated by government; it is now expected to be published in October.

A paper published by the Blueprint Coalition, supported by London Councils and the LGA, set out the following more detailed asks for the Net Zero Strategy:

  1. A clear commitment to a mutually agreed central framework to embed local authorities as delivery partners in decarbonisation policies
  2. A clear message that a place-based solution is the best approach for several sectors
  3. A cross-departmental approach to working with local authorities
  4. Acknowledgement of the wider co-benefits of delivering on decarbonisation policies

Green investment

September 2021 updates

In July 2021, London Councils, Core Cities and the Connected Places Catapult launched the UK Cities Climate Investment Commission, which is developing a low carbon prospectus for these 12 cities, which will be launched at COP26. This is an innovative and leading piece of work, bringing together aggregate demand for low carbon investment in local places in a way that has not been done before, and which we anticipate will generate significant investment interest. The stage 1 report showed that the 12 cities need between £112 billion and £335 billion to deliver net zero.

In October 2021, Central London Forward will be publishing an analysis of green jobs and skills opportunities and needs across each of the four London sub-regions; this will provide further important detail around opportunities and barriers to the green economy in your sub-region, and London Councils will circulate details once the report is public.

In the meantime, the LGA published an analysis of green jobs in 2020, broken down to the council level, but with a strong focus on energy-related jobs: Local green jobs - accelerating a sustainable economic recovery | Local Government Association

London Councils will be calling for greater coherence and support for green skills at the Spending Review (see Spending Review lines).

Retrofitting homes

September 2021 updates

London boroughs’ programme to advance retrofitting is ‘Retrofit London’, one of the seven programmes agreed in the Joint Statement on Climate Change in 2019. The programme has completed a fully costed data analysis of the interventions required to achieve an interim target of average EPC B and a more ambitious target of net zero across the capital’s housing stock; it has also agreed a comprehensive Retrofit London Housing Action Plan which has undergone extensive consultation and secured approval from every borough.

The programme is now working on an implementation plan and governance structure, which will include Housing Directors, representatives of Finance, Planning and Environment Directors, BEIS, GLA and London Councils.

Retrofit London will be publicly launched on Tuesday 26 October 2021.

The Heat and Buildings Strategy, which is now expected in October 2021, will set out the Government’s strategy for achieving decarbonisation in this sector; in the meantime, boroughs are continuing to bid for retrofit funding under the Sustainable Warmth Fund (comprising Green Homes Grants Local Authority Delivery phase 3 and the Home Upgrade Grants (HUG) phase 1), Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) and the Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund.

London Councils will be calling for the full pledged funding for the SHDF and HUG to be committed in the 2021 Spending Review, together with other fiscal measures to improve the economics of retrofit (see Spending Review lines).

Transport (infrastructure)

September 2021 updates

London Councils is collating another London-wide bid for ORCS funding, after the successful roll out of GULCS. London now has more than 7,500 public charge points (a third of the UK total), the majority of which have been delivered by London boroughs. It is estimated the number of EVs will grow by almost a million by 2030, requiring more than 40,000 charge points.

The London rental e-scooter trial, coordinated by TfL and London Councils, has now expanded to include 9 London boroughs, meaning that e-scooters can be hired and used in a single large area of central and west London. The trial initially covered a core area that included Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Richmond, Tower Hamlets and Canary Wharf.  Over summer 2021, the City of London, Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster joined the trial.