Polly Billington UK100
Polly BillingtonUK100
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This is an edited version of Polly's foreword from UK100's 2022 Annual Review.

2022 has been anything but uneventful.

Last December, I was celebrating the efforts of our members to get local Net Zero explicitly recognised in the Glasgow Climate Pact at COP26.

A year on, the international climate conference in Egypt leaves 1.5°C on life-support.

But our hope must not be dimmed. When international delegates leave our planet at death’s door, climate-ambitious local leaders are just what the doctor ordered.

The number of local authorities signed up for our urgent Net Zero pledge topped 100 in 2022. Our newest members continue to demonstrate the groundswell of cross-party support for immediate climate action.

I am proud to introduce UK100’s first-ever Co-presidents, Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, and Cllr Richard Clewer, the Leader of Wiltshire Council.

Tracy and Richard embody the political consensus on the need to act on climate that is what UK100 is all about.

Richard serves as the Chair of our Countryside Climate Network, the UK’s only network focused on rural Net Zero.

It has 44 members, giving rural climate voices a national and global platform. Our members represent 57% of the population.

They lead communities contending with the fallout of myriad crises, from domestic political instability and a cost-of-living emergency to Russia’s war on Ukraine and a gas price crisis.

In November, we released our End the wait. Insulate. report.

It sets out why a locally-led social housing energy efficiency drive can help protect some of the most vulnerable households from the gas price crisis by permanently slashing energy bills — while growing local economies, supporting jobs, and accelerating Net Zero progress.

Our Local Net Zero Delivery Progress reports reflect the experience of our members; Ministers are not matching nor adequately enabling local authority ambition.

Shortly after being asked to lead the government’s Net Zero Review, Chris Skidmore MP spoke of how his report “could recommend devolving more power to local authorities and city mayors.”

We worked with Chris to arrange the first Net Zero Review evidence session with cross-party local leaders.

We will continue working closely with Chris to ensure local leaders are at the heart of the UK’s Net Zero plan.

From COP27 to the cost-of-living crisis, 2022 demonstrates — yet again — the key role innovative and ambitious local leaders play in tackling the urgent issues facing the country.

Issues from which the climate crisis cannot be separated.

In 2023, we will continue to support our members to show the government we stand ready to design and deliver.

I’d also like to say a big thank you to all our core foundation grants that made our 2022 success possible.

Read UK100's 2022 Annual Review.