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Exeter ranked one of UK’s best performing councils on Net Zero journey

Published: 19 October 2023

Exeter ranked one of UK’s best performing councils on Net Zero journey Exeter is the second best performing district council

Exeter is the second best performing district council in the UK for taking action towards becoming Net Zero, a new report has revealed.

The Council Climate Action Scorecards is a project of Climate Emergency UK and assesses all councils on the actions they’ve taken towards Net Zero.

Exeter was ranked second in the league table of district councils, with a score of 56 per cent, compared to an average district council score of 29 per cent.

Exeter was second only to Lancaster City Council in the UK for district councils, and eighth in the UK for all councils.

The City Council declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019 and aims to achieve Net Zero Greenhouse Gas emissions for its own corporate activities by 2030.

The target year is 20 years in advance of the 2050 national Net Zero target required under the Climate Change Act.

The top 10 best performing district councils highlighted by Climate Emergency UK are:

  1. Lancaster City Council
  2. Exeter City Council
  3. Oxford City Council
  4. Cambridge City Council
  5. Winchester City Council
  6. Teignbridge District Council
  7. City of Lincoln Council
  8. Warwick District Council
  9. Lewes District Council
  10. Eastbourne Borough Council

Exeter scored particularly highly for buildings and heating - 82 per cent - and collaboration and engagement - 82 per cent.

The Council has recently won major awards for its Solar Farm and Battery Storage Facility at Marsh Barton, which is generating sustainable electricity and powering the city’s fleet of electric vehicles.

It has also won national recognition for its ambitious retrofit programme, which is cutting energy consumption and carbon emissions at Council-owned properties across the city, while improving quality of life for residents.

The Council also works with key partners, including Devon County Council, in lowering carbon emissions and encourages businesses in the city to adopt best practice through its Green Accord accreditation scheme.

Cllr Josie Parkhouse, Exeter’s Lead Councillor for Climate Change and Ecological Crisis, said: “The Council has been working hard to reduce carbon emissions for a long time and it is great to see this work reflected in an independent report.

“The fact that Exeter has come out second in a league table of district councils for its journey towards Net Zero is something we should all be very proud of. There is still much to do of course, but this is fantastic recognition of what has already been achieved by this Labour-run council.”

Chief Executive Bindu Arjoon said: “The Council has a dedicated Net Zero team which does a fantastic job, and it is great to see this work being recognised at a national level. We also collaborate closely with others, and I am so pleased to see this work being highlighted in this way.”

The Council Climate Action Scorecards assessment consists of 91 questions or less, depending on council type, across seven different sections, created in consultation with over 90 different organisations and individuals.

Each council was marked against these criteria and given a right to reply before the scores underwent a final audit. This work was completed between January and August 2023.

The performance of councils was monitored in the following areas: buildings and heating, planning and land use, governance and finance, biodiversity, collaboration and engagement, waste reduction and food.

More information about how the Council is tackling climate change is available on the website.

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