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6 reasons why local councils should commit to net zero

23 April 2021

It has always been true that improving a council’s environmental impact has numerous benefits for the entire community. Now though, there is more urgency than ever when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. Major cities including Nottingham, Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow have all pledged to reach net zero by 2030. York and Birmingham published their proposals with a “Race to Net Zero”. Clearly, a green shift is already underway, despite the uncertainty sparked by Covid-19. If anything, the pandemic has prompted a rise in demand for self-sufficiency. This, in turn, has made sustainable solutions such as communal energy and renewable generation attractive options for local councils. Paired with energy efficiency and smart carbon management, these options can deliver a clear and cost-effective path to net zero. Here are 6 reasons to get your local council to commit to net zero today.

1.   Protect the planet

The most important reason to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions is to slow the rate of climate change. For years, environmentalism was considered to be a niche area. Now, it is clear that the destructive effects of climate change can no longer be overlooked. With a dramatic rise in melting ice caps, rising waters, raging wildfires and devastating storms, it is clear we are rapidly running out of time. In this effort, everyone has a part to play. Local councils are especially well placed to lead by example. By embracing a sustainable strategy, councils can show their community the importance of a green lifestyle.

2.   Fuel your council’s economic recovery

The path to net zero for local councils requires a combination of sustainable solutions working together to reduce energy consumption and, in turn, emissions. These efficiency measures can lead to significant cost savings which is a valuable resource on the road to recovery. These are the net zero energy solutions that can lead to financial savings:
  • Energy efficiency: By identifying areas of inefficiency and waste, energy data can be used to uncover hidden cost savings.
  • Onsite generation: By generating your own power you can avoid rising non-commodity costs and even sell excess money back to the grid.
  • Battery storage: Battery storage enables you to buy energy at lower prices and store it for times of peak demand. It can also store onsite renewable power at times when energy cannot be generated. (For example, solar energy can be stored to use at night or on cloudy days when the technology is less effective.)
  • Water efficiency: Reducing water waste is crucial for the environment, but also an important way to save money.

3.   Become self-sufficient

Self-sufficiency is key in a fluctuating market, and is more realistic now for local councils than ever before. By installing local communal energy or onsite generation paired with battery storage, your community can become green and independent. These sustainable solutions provide a consistent and reliable power source that can reduce your reliance on the grid. In turn, this works to reduce the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels. The more flexible the energy grid becomes, and the more local authorities embrace renewable generation, the faster the UK can achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

4.   Support mental and physical health

By making positive environmental changes, councils can greatly improve the overall mental and physical health of their community members. Reaching net zero can sound quite technical, but really it is all about building a sustainable future for your community. Everything from protecting green spaces and improving bike lanes and walkability to investing in valuable resources like EV charging. This is all a crucial part of supporting a healthy, happy lifestyle for your citizens.

5.   Prepare for a net zero future

As the UK continues on its path to net zero, it can be assumed carbon reporting and targets will become mandatory for local governments. By starting your net zero journey now you can get ahead of the curve and avoid any climate-related risks in the future.

6.   Invest in the next generation

Climate change awareness has been rising rapidly amongst the general public, especially young people. The focus is not only on higher government but local government, to enact substantial change. By building a green, sustainable community for children to grow up in, a local council can lead by example and make net zero the new normal.

How can I get started?

The journey to net zero can seem overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to start. Our guide, ‘Path to Net Zero for the public sector’ outlines what net zero means, and the steps your local authority can take to commit to net zero. Smith Bellerby can be your partner in your net zero journey. We can simplify all the initial data gathering and energy admin. And then provide a bespoke net zero strategy designed with your local councils’ needs in mind. Our goal is to build a sustainable foundation for your community’s green future. Download our guide to learn how to get your local council on the path to net zero today.

Pathway to net zero for the public sector
Evelyn Chapman
Evelyn Chapman
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