Tracy Brabin, Richard Clewer: We must work despite the political divide at net zero

History will never go back to politicians who let petty feuds, write the co-presidents of UK100-the mayor of West Yorkshire CA and the head of Wiltshire Council.

If we have learned anything over the past two years, it should be that cooperation across borders and political lines is essential in dealing with any global crisis.

UK100 co-presidents Tracy Brabin (Lab), mayor of West Yorkshire CA, and Richard Clewer (Con), head of Wiltshire Council

Many argue that responding to climate and environmental emergencies should be the same, if not higher, level of urgency as our response to covid-19.

And there are clear similarities between the effects of climate change and that of a pandemic. Both have the potential to destroy lifestyles, communities, economies and cause millions of premature deaths.

However, when it comes to avoiding the effects of climate change and ensuring that the poorest communities are not too affected, decisions must be made at a local level.

As co-presidents of UK100-the UK’s only network of ambitious local climate leaders committed to net zero-we both enthusiastically believe that only local leaders have the vision, power and influence to carry out changes needed.

The UK100 now has more than 100 members, collectively representing nearly 40 million people, each committed to achieving net zero soon, but no later than 2045.

Local solutions

We, as local leaders, know which interventions are most needed in our regions. We know where investment is most needed, whether in skills, transportation or housing. And what makes a positive change in West Yorkshire may not work in Wiltshire. But surely there are lessons we can learn from each other.

In dealing with climate emergencies, it is important that parties of all colors work together to achieve our shared goals.

The different challenges facing our two regions, along with its different geographies, demographics and industries, are replicated across the UK.

Research published by UK Research and Innovation earlier this year found ‘place-based’ carbon reduction measures led by cities and towns in the UK would yield better environmental, economic and social and, importantly, has a lower cost compared to a national ‘one size fits all approach.


Cross-party collaboration is the key to success when it comes to making real entry in reaching net zero. Although there are differences in approach, most political parties say change is needed, and needed immediately if we want to avoid a catastrophe that will never recover our environment.

As co-presidents, we represent the two largest political parties in the UK. In dealing with climate emergencies, it is important that parties of all colors work together to achieve our shared goals. History will not take a good look at politicians who let petty feuds hinder progress.

This month, UK100 will launch its flagship local net zero progress report. It aims to assess the progress of local, regional and national leaders in making the declaration of delivery to a locally-led net zero transition that works for people and the planet.

This launch event will be a unique opportunity to learn what local leaders have already delivered and what else they can do – and at speed – if the right support is available.


In West Yorkshire, the joint authority is investing £ 40m in West Yorkshire’s climate and environment plan, which will continue to work to deliver a net zero carbon region by 2038, with significant action before 2030.

The ever -escalating cost of living crisis … has shed light on the immediate need for action on net zero

It has more than £ 100m invested to radically change the region’s transport network, as well as projects to improve energy efficiency in thousands of rented homes and create 1,000 efficient payments. , skilled jobs in the green sector, of which 645 have already been promised.

In Wiltshire, since the council recognized a climate emergency, it has already allocated £ 88m capital and £ 3.9m revenue to deliver its climate program.

As a result, the council is already on track to decarbonize the organization by 2030 and seeks to make the county carbon neutral by helping to stimulate communities, local groups and organizations to support this collective responsibility.

The council builds all new council housing to a zero-carbon standard, has a program to retrofit all council housing to an energy performance certificate rating of B or better, generates of an electric vehicle charging infrastructure plan, has reduced energy consumption from part-night lighting streetlights, dimming and £ 12m investment in LEDs, and allows residents to buy more cheap solar panels through solar together scheme.


In West Yorkshire and Wiltshire, like all other areas of the UK, local leaders will face major challenges from the legacy left by industries of the past, through decades of underinvestment in infrastructure and problems caused. of changing demographics.

We can ensure the UK no longer relies on food, fuel and energy imports by finding local sustainable solutions

But it also gives us a unique opportunity – to reset and reshape our economy, our environment and our society for the better.

The ever-increasing cost of living crisis, amid the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, is having a devastating effect on our communities and illuminates the urgent need for action on net zero.

We, as leaders, can help to address the cost of living crisis permanently by encouraging people to reduce the use of their vehicles by riding public transport, walking or cycling; proper insulation of homes to reduce energy charges; and opening up new career paths through jobs in the green sector.

We can ensure that the UK no longer relies on food, fuel and energy imports by finding local sustainable solutions that create new jobs in tandem with lowering emissions and costs.

Dealing with the climate emergency will allow us, as local leaders, to fulfill the government’s vicious promise to level up. We hope that other leaders from across the UK and beyond will join us before our time is really exhausted.

Tracy Brabin (Lab), mayor, West Yorkshire CA; Richard Clewer (Con), leader, Wiltshire Council