Website contents

CO2 calculator

The climate crisis and what to do about it

Action needed

False and dubious solutions

Awareness raising

Civil disobedience

Reasons for optimism

Tecnicalities by sector

Standards of administration in a democracy

Performance assessments

Best practice examples




Local government action

Local authorities should act urgently within their powers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Information and culture

  • Councils should publicize that climate change is an emergency, and should give clear information to residents that fossil fuel use must be phased out by at least 10% per year.
  • Councils should act urgently in all areas where they have powers.


CO2 emissions from transport is the sector where local authority decisions have the greatest impact.

Make walking and cycling safe
  • plan and prioritise around the needs of pedestrians and cyclists e.g. ask where are the worst barriers to walking and cycling and tackle those first - for example, all children should be able to walk safely to school
  • publicise the laws that protect pedestrians and cyclist e.g. those (a) giving priority to pedestrians crossing at T junctions, (b) banning pavement parking, (c) banning close overtaking of cyclists
  • 20mph speed limits wherever there are significant numbers or walking or cycling journeys
  • more pedestrian crossings
  • timings at pedestrian crossings should be favourable to pedestrians
  • safer junctions for pedestrians including build-outs rather than fast large-radius turns
  • protected cycle lanes
  • narrow country lanes that are impassable for pedestrians because of high hedges, narrow verges and the speed of traffic can be made safe by constructing new paths and cycle tracks on the field side of the hedge (and adding a new hedge or fence beyond that)
For more on making walking safe, see

Car use
  • cancel any new road building that is primarily for motor vehicles
  • reduce parking provision
  • block rat-runs for motor vehicles, but keep as a pedestrian and cycling throughway - i.e. filtered permeability
  • make streets made one-way for motor vehicles (but still two-way for bicycles)
  • traffic calming e.g. chicanes and bottleneck from reducing two lanes to a single lane for motor vehicles (without impeding cycling)

Public transport
  • facilitate where possible

Air travel
  • plan on phasing out air travel

New developments (of shops, housing, etc)
  • These should not increase car use. The trend to out-of-town shopping centres should be reversed. The need to travel should be reduced.

Space heating

Local authorities should give a lead in reducing fossil fuel heating of buildings.
  • lower temperature settings in council offices
  • better insulation of council buildings
  • publicise best practice examples of private ownership improvements such as Passiv haus technology

Local food

Local authorities should wherever possible facilitate the local production and distribution of food.
  • support and increase allotment sites
  • investigate measures that would support shops selling locally grown produce
  • support farmers' markets.

Renewable energy generation

  • install solar panels on council buildings
  • publicize best practice examples from private ownership

First published: 2008
Last updated: 23 Oct 2019