Northumberland among most climate-friendly councils in the country - but still needs to to more, says Friends of the Earth
Northumberland has been named the joint second most climate-friendly council in England and Wales in research released by Friends of the Earth.
The environmental group assessed local authorities in different categories including renewable energy, public transport, lift-sharing, energy efficiency at home, waste recycling and tree cover to find an overall winner.
Wiltshire came out on top, with a score of 92%, but was followed in second place by Northumberland, alongside the Isle of Wight and Somerset West and Taunton on 88%.
The county was also the only council north of Oxfordshire to make the top 10, as Friends of the Earth points out that local authorities ‘have an important and often overlooked role in cutting carbon emissions and solving the climate crisis’.
We also reported in September how Northumberland is the greenest local authority in the North East, as well as in the top 10 across the UK, in terms of its carbon emissions.
The county was also among the top five nationwide in terms of the reduction in its emissions over the previous decade, based on the latest data from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which covers up to 2017.
Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth chief executive, said: “All local authorities, even the best performing, need to ramp up what they are doing.
“We know we are facing a climate and ecological emergency that threatens our existence and the natural world. If we want to change things for the better, let’s start at home.
“Doing things right now about climate change isn’t just good news for future generations and people most vulnerable to an erratic climate, it’s good for everyone.
“Creating cleaner and greener places to live means healthier, happier lives. It’s why local authorities need to take the lead by adopting ambitious local climate action plans, and who better to help them than communities.”
Northumberland County Council is currently working on an action plan after declaring a climate emergency earlier this year and pledging to reduce the authority’s emissions by half by 2025 and make the county carbon-neutral by 2030.
The first meeting of the climate change steering group took place last month with the detailed plan due in December.