International Net Zero Local Leadership Summit & Conference

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Local Powers

Our flagship event of 2021, co-hosted with West Midlands Combined Authority, designed to speed up the shift to Net Zero in the lead up to COP26.



On 13 July 2021 more than 30 local leaders from across the UK, and 600 delegates from local and central government, business, NGOs, academia and trade bodies, joined the International Net Zero Local Leadership Summit and Conference. Watch each session in the links below.

A key milestone for UK local government leaders in the lead up to COP26, we co-hosted our flagship event for 2021 with Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street and the West Midlands Combined Authority.

At the Net Zero Local Leadership Summit, 32 mayors and leaders from across the UK gathered to sign a joint declaration on delivering Net Zero in the UK.

Akin to the Paris City Hall Declaration which paved the way for the COP21 agreement, the Net Zero Local Leadership Communique argues local leaders need new powers and resources to tackle climate change with the fierce urgency of now.

Building on the commitments and actions already made by local leaders, the summit was designed to speed up the shift to Net Zero. It did this by demonstrating the power and effectiveness of local leadership on climate and the need for enhanced partnership between local government, UK national and, devolved governments and with business.

Polly Billington at the Net Zero Local Leadership Summit
Polly Billington, Chief Executive of UK100, at the summit

The International Net Zero Local Leadership Conference later in the day was designed to highlight some of the priorities in delivering climate action in our race to Net Zero.

Together with the summit, it forms part of a wider effort from local authorities offering a partnership to the UK government aimed at activating enhanced collaboration towards Net Zero.

It was just the start of building partnerships to support the delivery of Net Zero and we look forward to contininuing the conversation in the lead up to COP26 in Glasgow.

Content from the day

From video messages sent in by COP26 President Alok Sharma and the Mayor of LA to op-eds in The Times, get all the key content from the day below, including a recording of each session.

Watch: Net Zero Local Leadership Summit - part one

Jump to each speaker using the links below. Please note that part two was under Chatham House rules so is not available to watch.

Watch: International Net Zero Local Leadership Conference - opening plenary

Jump to each speaker using the links in their names below, and read more about the conference in this brochure.

Watch: International Net Zero Local Leadership Conference - the panels

Some highlights included Green Finance Institute’s Chief Executive Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas launching the GFI’s excellent local climate bonds campaign on the finance panel. The LCB campaign will target all 404 UK local authorities with a cost-effective way for them to fund hundreds of green local projects ahead of COP26.

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees urged that climate action must be wrapped up with tackling other social crises and Anthony Browne MP, Chair of the APPG for the Environment, used the story of wind energy in the UK to make a powerful case for the private and public sectors working together.

Greg Clark, Group Advisor - Future Cities & New Industries at HSBC Group, argued for encouraging local authorities to develop new bankable platforms - like Bristol’s City Leap - that could see change “happen very quickly”.

On the local energy planning panel, Cheryl Hiles, Director at WMCA's Energy Capital, said national guidance must be clear on what local authorities remit is within energy and Cathryn Scott, Director, Enforcement & Emerging Issues at Ofgem, highlighted how Ofgem can use price controls as ways to fund Net Zero.

On the clean air panel, Helen Hayes MP said we need to be aligning air quality and Net Zero wherever possible, while Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor Environment & Energy at GLA, said UK climate targets can't be achieved without helping cities like London to deliver.

The Net Zero Local Leadership Communique

A joint statement by the metropolitan mayors and UK100 and its constituent members. It proposes a new, enhanced partnership between UK government and local authorities to speed up the shift to Net Zero in the UK. 

Press release

Local leaders and mayors call for power shift to meet Net Zero: read here

Summit film

Video messages

Full playlist 


  • Polly Billington: Give trusted local leaders the power to tackle climate change - Times Red Box
  • Andy Street: Devolved regional powers are chance to make a difference to net zero - Times Red Box 

BBC Midlands Today report

Media snapshot

  • Mayors demand local powers to battle climate change to help UK reach net zero - The Mirror
  • West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin joins regional and city leaders in calling for more powers to hit net zero carbon targets - Yorkshire Post
  • West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin talking face masks on public transport and our summit - Bloomberg Radio
  • 'Power shift': Mayors and council leaders demand new powers to support net zero action - Business Green
  • Give UK local authorities new powers to accelerate net-zero transition, Mayors urge Government - edie
  • Local leaders call for devolved powers to reach net zero - Local Government Chronicle
  • Give us the tools and we'll help save the planet from climate change, say city and region mayors - Birmingham Mail
  • Bristol mayor joins city leaders calling for power shift to deliver urgent climate goals - Bristol 247
  • Local leaders call for more powers to help reach net-zero - Air Quality News

Twitter highlights


Conference sponsors

We'd like to say a big thank you to our business partners for supporting the conference. Watch their take on the importance of local climate action.

Conference sponsors

Watch the summit

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