Frequently Asked Questions
What is UK100? What is Net Zero? What are the benefits of UK100 membership? What are UK100 members signed up to? What is the UK100 Net Zero Pledge? Does the Pledge include any specific targets? What is the Countryside Climate Network? How can councils set an areawide target if they do not have power/control over their emissions? Does the pledge require councils to adopt any specific policies? What about "15-minute" cities, towns or neighbourhoods? How were the targets in the UK100 Net Zero Pledge decided? Does the Pledge set any biodiversity or adaptation targets? Is the UK100 Net Zero Pledge legally binding? How do councils join UK100? Does a district or borough council automatically become a member of UK100 if the upper-tier authority in the area has already signed the Net Zero Pledge? How much does it cost to join UK100? Does UK100 membership need to be renewed? How is UK100 funded?
What is UK100?
UK100 is a cross-party membership organisation that supports the most ambitious councils to go further and faster on their Net Zero and Clean Air targets.
Local authorities have a unique leadership role in tackling the climate crisis. UK100's role is to foster collaboration.
We facilitate knowledge-sharing between members, partnership-building and provide leadership and outreach mentoring.
To accelerate action, we believe in bringing together the most influential local leaders across the country to learn together and agree on priorities for legislative and regulatory change while empowering them to engage with national decision-makers.
And UK100 members have pledged to deliver a Net Zero future that delivers for people and planet.
What is Net Zero?
The term Net Zero comes from the goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions or reducing them to a level where they are balanced by the level of emissions that can be removed from the atmosphere.
But UK100 sees Net Zero as a vision for a future where communities can thrive and the potential of local economies is unlocked.
It is about creating a better future for families across the UK. Adopting Net Zero policies will create new jobs and drive local economic growth, even more so if action is locally led.
Net Zero can support households to reduce their energy bills; create safer streets; deliver cleaner air, and; help connect communities.
By working together, communities, in partnership with local and national leaders, can build a future that is better and equitable for everyone.
Net Zero is about delivering for people and planet.
What are the benefits of UK100 membership?
Membership of UK100 supports local authorities in fulfilling their commitments to tackling the climate emergency and delivering local Net Zero by:
- facilitating dialogue with national politicians and senior officials across Whitehall, amplifying the voices of local leaders via collective advocacy to national government
- enabling knowledge sharing between members including meetings, webinars, roundtables and workshops, and promoting best practice via social media (Twitter and Linkedin) and newsletters
- providing tailored insights, evidence and recommendations on the challenges and solutions to local Net Zero, inviting members to inform and participate in research
- connecting local leaders with world-leading business and industry to help local authorities plan and implement the solutions needed to reduce emissions in their local area
- demonstrating the collective ambition, commitment and ability of democratically elected local leaders to deliver Net Zero.
Local authorities will also have access to our members-only programmes and services, including briefings on our research and publications.
What are UK100 members signed up to?
From November 2020, councils wishing to join UK100 have been asked to sign the UK100 Net Zero Pledge to become a member.
The pledge is designed to demonstrate the ambition and ability of democratically elected local leaders to deliver Net Zero.
It is also intended to create the conditions for stronger climate action at the national level to help local authorities reach Net Zero faster.
Find a list of our members here.
What is the UK100 Net Zero Pledge?
As local leaders across the UK, we recognise our responsibility to tackle the climate emergency and take bold action towards Net Zero.
We will continue to lead the UK’s response to climate change, acting sooner than the government’s goal by making substantial progress within the next decade to deliver Net Zero.
We will use our experience and achievements to advocate to the UK government in order to accelerate the delivery of ambitious local climate action. With greater powers and funding, we would go further.
We commit to do everything within our power and influence to rapidly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and work with our residents and businesses to bring our wider communities’ emissions in line with Net Zero as soon as possible.
We pledge to understand our impact on climate change, prioritise where action needs to be taken and monitor progress towards our goals. We will reduce our emissions at source and limit the use of carbon offsets as part of the global effort to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
We are closer to the people who live and work in our communities, so we have a better understanding of their needs. This means we can collaborate with them to build consensus for the solutions we need to transition to a Net Zero society that delivers multiple benefits and is fair, just and works for everyone.
Does the Pledge include any specific targets?
UK100's Net Zero Pledge includes the following commitments:
1. Councils should have set ambitious Net Zero targets for greenhouse emissions of 2030* for council operations and 2045* for areawide emissions at the latest:
- Net Zero council operations: 2045
- Net Zero areawide emissions: 2045
- Net Zero council operations: 2030
- Net Zero areawide emissions: 2050
Unitary councils, metropolitan, London boroughs and districts
- Net Zero council operations: 2030
- Net Zero areawide emissions: 2045
2. Councils should report their carbon emissions annually, for scope 1 and scope 2, for council emissions and areawide emissions.
3. Councils should commit to limiting the use of offsets, and if used, to be as local as possible.
* There is an exception on Net Zero target dates for counties and combined authorities due to their size, strategic scale, wide-ranging responsibilities and sometimes rural geography which means they have different powers and responsibilities. There is also an exception for local authorities if their combined science-based target, for both their council operations and area-wide emissions, is to reach Net Zero by 2045
What is the Countryside Climate Network?
Members representing rural communities can join the UK100 Countryside Climate Network (CCN).
The CCN is a sub-group of UK100 network members whose authority covers predominantly rural areas.
If a local authority signs the Net Zero Pledge and fits into this description, they are automatically eligible to become a member of the CCN, giving local leaders access to CCN meetings and specific events — as well as those of the broader UK100 network.
Leaders can actively participate in or elect an appropriate cabinet member representative to participate in quarterly CCN meetings.
How can councils set an areawide target if they do not have power/control over their emissions?
The Pledge urges local leaders to ‘do everything within [their] power and influence to rapidly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.’
It recognises that local authorities do not necessarily have all the powers they need to reach their ambitious Net Zero targets, yet.
The Net Zero Pledge feeds into our ongoing dialogue with national government, and increases the pressure on Ministers for policy changes that will enable local leaders to do what they need to meet their Net Zero targets in collaboration with their local community.
Does the Pledge require councils to adopt any specific policies?
No. The Net Zero Pledge does not mandate local authorities take any specific measures or adopt any specific policies to achieve their Net Zero targets.
While UK100 may make policy recommendations at the local and national levels, we believe local leaders know their area best and will work to empower them to make the right decisions for their community.
What about "15-minute" cities, towns or neighbourhoods?
UK100 does not mandate its members to introduce 15-minute neighbourhoods; it is not a condition of UK100 membership, nor is it our organisational policy to encourage this intervention.
UK100 is not aware that any of our members are planning to introduce "15-minute cities".
While UK100 is supportive of local authority action to decarbonise transport, promote active travel, support public transport and reduce air pollution in neighbourhoods across the country, the organisation has not advocated or called for the widespread adoption of 15-minute cities.
It is a concept popularised by the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo. Carlos Moreno, professor at the Sorbonne in Paris, is credited with coining the term in 2016, but the concept itself is actually decades old — it's been a part of new urbanist thinking since the 1980s.
The 15-minute city concept does not impose any restrictions on citizens' freedom of movement. It aims to promote and support active travel by ensuring communities have what they need, like schools and GPs, closer to where they live.
There are currently few examples of planning policies and interventions that would be considered 15-minute neighbourhoods in the UK.
How were the targets in the UK100 Net Zero Pledge decided?
UK100 ran a consultative process over several months with our board, advisory council and many existing members.
As many of our members were doing far more than they originally signed up to, we concluded that the pledge should reflect progress made while boosting further ambition.
Therefore, the latest pledge is a wider commitment on climate action and significant increase in ambition, with dates chosen by our members.
Does the Pledge set any biodiversity or adaptation targets?
The focus of the Net Zero Pledge is mitigation, which is UK100’s mission. Although the ecological emergency is an important related issue, biodiversity and adaptation are not specific targets of this pledge.
Is the UK100 Net Zero Pledge legally binding?
The pledge is not legally binding. UK100 will not take legal action if local authorities do not reach the targets set out as part of the UK100 Net Zero Pledge.
However, if the Net Zero targets in the Pledge are adopted by the council, and set as an official policy, then elected members will be accountable in the same way they would be for other policies to which local authorities have publicly committed.
How do councils join UK100?
The process of joining UK100 involves a conversation between the elected cabinet members of the interested authority and the UK100 membership team. During this conversation, any questions about the membership can be answered.
If the interested authority wishes to proceed, they will receive an official invitation to join UK100 from the Membership and Insights Director. The council leader will then confirm their membership by responding to the invitation.
To show their commitment, UK100 recommends that the council leader physically sign the membership pledge and provide a quote for use in related communications materials.
However, if the pledge and targets go beyond current policy, it is necessary to get formal cabinet approval.
Does a district or borough council automatically become a member of UK100 if the upper-tier authority in the area has already signed the Net Zero Pledge?
No. Due to different powers and responsibilities, we ask councils in two-tier areas to sign the Net Zero Pledge separately.
This is so that both councils may take full advantage of the benefits of UK100 membership, and distinguish between the different Net Zero targets that the different councils may have.
How much does it cost to join UK100?
There are no costs associated with being a member of UK100.
Does UK100 membership need to be renewed?
Our Net Zero members in the network do not need to renew their membership on an annual basis.
However, members can withdraw their membership at any time or membership can be terminated by UK100 if a local authority no longer meets the membership criteria.
How is UK100 funded?
UK100's core operations are funded by various grant-giving organisations.
You can find out more about UK100's accounts on the Companies House website.