Response to council climate change rankings

The Climate Emergency UK rankings, released today (Thursday 19 October 2023), reflect what councils have achieved in tackling climate change. Our score of 33 per cent, ranks us 44th out of 164 English District councils. We are in fifth place in Hertfordshire.

To put this scoring in context, the average score for district councils was 29 per cent, with a wide range of scoring, from 12 per cent to 61 per cent.

The scorecards are a wholly independent assessment of the climate plans and strategies of councils around the country, with each one being rated using 89 questions in seven different sections.

This is the second scoring delivered by Climate Emergency UK, with the first, using a different methodology, released in early 2021. This year’s score is based on an "expert-approved checklist" and included rating our efforts in Governance and Finance, Collaboration and Engagement, Buildings and Heating, and Biodiversity.

The study was conducted between January and June this year and each authority was given the right of reply. Therefore, it reflects the policies of the previous administration in Dacorum.

The other council results in Hertfordshire are:

Climate Council Action Scorecards 2023
Council2023 score percentage
East Herts36
St Albans35
North Herts32
Three Rivers30
Welwyn Hatfield28

We scored strongest in the categories of Collaboration and Engagement (65 per cent), Planning and Land Use (43 per cent), and Buildings and Heating (41 per cent). Scores in other categories include Biodiversity (38 per cent), Waste Reduction and Food (21 per cent), Governance and Finance (15 per cent), and Transport (6 per cent).

We formally declared a climate emergency in 2019 and have since been working hard to develop a strategy and action plan to enable us to meet our target of being carbon neutral as an organisation by 2030, and a borough by 2050.

Every department has been tasked with seeking ways to be cleaner and greener. This includes reducing annual mileage of our waste vehicles and upgrading energy efficiency in sheltered housing blocks and council homes, as well as conserving and enhancing our natural spaces. We have also worked with other councils in Hertfordshire to identify areas of high demand for Electric Vehicle Charging Points, to help residents purchase discounted solar panels through Solar Together. And energy saving advice is available through our HEAT app, which can be found on our Home energy efficiency page.

Cllr Adrian England, Deputy Leader of the Council and our Portfolio Holder for Climate Action and Opportunity, said: “Our score of 33 per cent in the 2023 Climate Scorecards ranks us fifth out of Hertfordshire’s districts. This reflects the positive work councillors and staff are doing, but the highest comparative “district” ranking, Lancaster, at 61 per cent, shows we have 'low-hanging fruit' available for much progress.

“We need to focus and find ways to make that progress and show practical leadership in reducing harm, both locally and through world demand. This is why the new Cabinet has a Portfolio Holder specifically focused on Climate Action and Opportunity.

“Instead of experiencing the crash of a Climate Emergency, Dacorum is well-placed to try to generate a different outcome: Climate Justice, which is comparatively less costly and disruptive for our most vulnerable residents and businesses and does us credit as a borough.

“I call on the Government to see this as an opportunity, and to step up support for Local Government to be able to invest in smart, local renewables generation, energy efficiency, protection of wildlife, reducing gridlock on our roads, improving air quality, and defending at-risk homes and businesses from climate factors.”

Join our Dacorum Climate Action Network, which is open to everyone who lives, works and plays in Dacorum and pledges to take positive environmental actions.