Local Partnerships already provides services in key climate response areas including energy efficiency, waste, housing, regeneration and growth, air quality, energy, finance, infrastructure, digital transformation and health and social care.

Our support to the public sector is focused on four key areas:

  • Carbon reduction
  • Adaptation
  • Resilience
  • Climate leadership

Key areas of support provided by Local Partnerships include:

  • Emissions reporting – review and report on scopes 1 & 2 emissions to standards required by legislation 
  • Emissions reporting – develop with the client their initial Scope 3 emissions approach, and make recommendations for both projects to reduce emmssions and developing improved reporting in future periods
  • Greenhouse gas baseline reporting and target mapping to net zero position
  • Advice on developing viable options and to reduce and offset emissions, including options appraisal
  • Adaptation strategy – review adequacy of existing plans and support in developing risk assessments and development of adaptive pathways
  • Resilience planning – test existing emergency planning functions for appropriate climate related emergencies
  • Identification of barriers to rapid change
  • Governance – test and report the fitness for purpose of existing governance arrangements for climate emergencies and associated decision making 
  • Asset review – identifying potential for other uses which could aid climate initiatives – this can extend to support in developing or acquiring new assets
  • Policy levers – this could include planning policy, HMO licencing, taxi licencing, etc.
  • Climate leadership advice – including advocacy and practical action plans

Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool

The Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool has been developed by Local Partnerships, working with the LGA, to provide a straightforward and consistent approach for councils seeking to calculate their own carbon baseline. While currently local authority reporting on emissions is voluntary, consistent and easy calculation of an annual carbon baseline is an important part of managing the carbon in our organisations.

The tool produces summary tables and charts to help local authorities understand their most significant sources of emissions, which can then be used to prioritise actions to reduce carbon emissions.

Councils are also able to benchmark their emissions with other councils to understand how their performance compares with their peers. To participate in the benchmarking please submit your completed baseline by email to

The Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool and FAQ has been updated as of 13th July 2021.

The tool has been reviewed by the Carbon Disclosure Project for compliance, and can be used to disclose council emissions data to the CDP-ICLEI Unified Reporting System in the Local Government Emissions section.

The tool is free to use for all councils in England.

In 2019 – 20 we helped our clients achieve :

Climate Response

Local and combined authorities began to declare a climate emergency in November 2018 and within 12 months 65% had made such statements. The speed and scale of recognition of the need to act was unprecedented. Local Partnerships appointed a Strategic Director in October 2019 to help shape our support in this key area for councils. Climate response work has significant synergies with longstanding Local Partnerships activities, especially Re:fit, energy and air quality. We focused on defining, implementing and raising awareness of the support we provide.

Our work has included developing strategic relationships that will enable us to deliver a high quality and comprehensive range of climate crisis-related services. The start of this process has identified synergies with both Cenex and Oxford University’s UK Climate Improvement Partnership (UKCIP) and we explored opportunities to work together to help the public sector tackle the challenges climate crisis presents.

We worked in partnership with the LGA to help develop this key area for councils. We have supported a number of LGA projects including drafting questions on climate response for its annual member survey. We delivered good practice guidance for renewable energy development and purchase agreements.

We supported several local authorities develop their action planning in response to climate emergency declarations. We reviewed Portsmouth City Council’s climate emergency strategy and undertook a review of assets to identify potential for renewable energy development.

We worked with the newly-forming Buckinghamshire Council to audit and establish a clear emissions baseline, thus aligning the reporting of the five former authorities. This will enable the Council to create clear targets to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

Air Quality

Poor air quality is a huge environmental problem and is believed to be responsible for more than 40,000 premature deaths per year in the UK. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a toxic pollutant derived from combustion processes and, most notably, produced by diesel and petrol vehicles. National monitoring data identified 33 towns and cities in England that were potentially in breach of the legal limits for NO2. In 2017, Defra and the Department for Transport set up the Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) to help address the issue.

Since that time, we have provided expert support to help the relevant local authorities develop detailed plans to reduce the NO2 levels in their urban areas, as directed by JAQU. We have worked with JAQU since its inception and supported each of the local authorities on the programme. We have assisted with the development of business cases for the local authorities’ air quality improvement plans. This included the commercial, financial and management cases, undertaking quality assurance reviews and providing advice as the schemes progress into procurement.

We supported JAQU’s Delivery and Impacts Independent Review Panel (DIRP). It reviews the outline and final business cases developed by local authorities setting out their proposals for reaching emissions targets within timescales. Owing to Local Partnerships’ role in the air quality programme, a strict ethical wall has been maintained between our representative on DIRP and the wider air quality team.


For more information about what we have helped our clients achieve, see our 2019-20 impact report.

Domestic Retrofit

Housing retrofit is a complicated and risk-laden challenge, and it is just one of the many actions required to achieve net zero carbon targets in each locality. Meanwhile, net zero is just one priority of the many social economic and environmental priorities each council is facing. Yet we know that without concerted public sector intervention to address domestic energy efficiency, legally binding national and local net zero targets will be missed.

Local Partnerships was commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) via the five Regional Energy Hubs to produce this Local Authority Housing Retrofit Handbook to provide practical advice to local authorities in England. It brings existing resources together in one place and gives a suggested order in which to work through this material.

Emissions reporting and preparation of responses to climate emergency

Local Partnerships is currently working with a number of authorities to develop responses to declarations of climate emergency. We have been working with these authorities to determine their emissions baselines, plot forward trajectories and develop action plans for dealing with greenhouse gas reductions in order to become carbon neutral authorities.

Our recommendations span a wide range of measures from asset reviews to building energy efficiency, utility scale renewable energy generation schemes and air quality measures. We always challenge ambition and look to influence the wider area as well as the authority’s own emissions.

Renewable energy and energy efficiency

We support public sector bodies in the development and delivery of strategic regional carbon reduction plans (as part of City Deals and Regional Growth Plans), local renewable energy generation projects (such as wind and solar facilities) and improving the energy efficiency of their estates.

Projects include utility scale renewable energy generation assets (solar PV and wind), building energy efficiency programmes, street lighting programmes and district heating networks.

We can provide insights around grid connection availability and support clients with grid connection applications.



We work with public sector organisations outside London to deliver the National Re:fit Programme, an energy efficiency programme that guarantees substantial financial savings whilst improving the energy efficiency of assets. The Re:fit programme is a procurement initiative for public bodies wishing to implement energy efficiency and local energy generation measures to their buildings or their estate, with support to assist in the development and delivery of the schemes. These measures improve the energy performance of buildings. As a result, carbon emissions are reduced, and substantial guaranteed annual cost savings are achieved.

The framework provides a guaranteed 100% of the energy saving or generation (kWh) via a contractual agreement for the payback period of the project, this key feature is helping to remove risk of failure with new developments, plus protecting the client and their investment.

As part of the Re:fit Programme, Local Partnerships audits participants’ energy and carbon data, and helps them establish achievable targets and pathways to those targets. This includes projecting energy and carbon costs into the future and whole-life cycle costing modelling to help with the business case of the kind of large infrastructure projects that will be needed to achieve net-zero carbon targets.

Air quality initiatives

We have worked with Defra and the Department for Transport on the Joint Air Quality Unit’s (JAQU) national programme to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide – a particularly toxic pollutant – in 33 local authority areas. The primary source of nitrogen dioxide is road traffic and concentrations build up in urban areas with heavy road usage and congestion. We helped the affected local authorities develop plans to reduce the most polluting traffic, encouraging people to walk, cycle, take public transport and accelerate the uptake of cleaner forms of transport, such as electric vehicles.

We supported local authorities to develop these complex plans. We provided guidance in areas such as governance, risk management, project planning, finance and procurement. We helped a number of councils to develop outline business cases for their plans.

Waste initiatives

We support Defra to formulate and assess the impact of policies that have featured prominently in the government’s “Resources and Waste Strategy” that lays the foundation for plans to double resource productivity and eliminate avoidable waste of all kinds (including plastic waste) by 2050.

Planning for a future climate

We work extensively in housing, housing infrastructure and renewable energy development, to ensure that schemes are all designed to the highest environmental standards and anticipate the changing nature of the climate in the area.

We have developed a range of strategic tools, covering infrastructure planning and delivery and housing market-making, through our work in other areas (particularly Greater Manchester and Greater Lincolnshire) which can be used to plan and deliver place-based economic and housing growth.


Main Contact

Jo Wall

Strategic Director – Climate Response


Mobile: 07770 702 386

⬆️ Strategic Director Martin Forbes writes for the MJ about levelling up and how to negotiate the challenges ahead. Join members of our bid review team for a webinar on 13 December to look at these issues further. Register here:

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