This article, and it's associated series of articles for regions, looks at the actions local councils in England are taking in response to climate change, and in particular what information they provide for the ordinary concerned citizen. The scope of this enquiry has been limited to council websites.
An initial survey was carried out during July - September 2005, with the results included in the early versions of these articles. Please note that contributors are welcome to add information at any time. This means that different parts of the articles may be up-to-date to a greater or lesser extent, but all will be at least as recent as the initial survey.
Websites for all (398) councils in all (9) regions of England have been looked at during the initial survey (with the exception of less than one percent unavailable at the times of searches - see Notes on method below), though in most cases only 'postive' results (some information found) have been recorded.
- Councils can play a major role in tackling climate change, but many have failed to put appropriate strategies and action plans in to place, according to a new report by the Local Government Association Independent Climate Change Commission, December 5 
- Local Government Association announces the launch of an Independent Climate Change Commission. March 12
Monitoring change Edit
Results of the initial survey could be compared with results from a similar comprehensive and systematic survey in about a year's time to give a broad indication of how the overall picture is changing.
The Overall picture Edit
(as at July - September 2005). Of the 385 websites for the 389 local councils in England, 99 (26%, or about one in four) are listed as having some information which ordinary concerned citizens might easily find.
The best examples provide several interconnected web pages of information with further references. Some have developed strategies and action plans to address climate change, and show evidence of inclusive and partnership approaches. According to Worthing Borough Council the government has challenged all local authorities across the UK to develop climate change strategies. The 'Manchester is my Planet' campaign is an example of a high profile, even if time limited, campaign.
If there are references to regional initiatives these may not always be well signposted to enable ordinary concerned citizens to easily find information which may be of use to them.
It may not always be very easy to tell how up-to-date the information provided by councils is, what actions are current, and how ordinary concerned citizens and community groups can get involved, or do their bit. If local councils or their strategic partners are in receipt of grants to promote action on climate change, it would not seem unreasonable to expect information of reasonable quality (clear, basic, up-to-date details with good links to further information) on appropriate council websites.
If information, on climate change, or any other aspect of local sustainability, is presented as only being of interest to 'professionals', councils may be missing out on getting credit from their electorates for the work they are actually doing.
Climate change information by local councils by region Edit
Check on the information for your region
- Climate change information by local councils in Greater London
- Climate change information by local councils in the South East
- Climate change information by local councils in South West England
- Climate change information by local councils in the West Midlands
- Climate change information by local councils in the East Midlands
- Climate change information by local councils in the East of England
- Climate change information by local councils in Yorkshire and the Humber
- Climate change information by local councils in North West England
- Climate change information by local councils in North East England
Notes on method Edit
(Initial survey) A simple search for 'climate change' was carried out on each local council website. Links identified were restricted to web pages specifically about climate change or evidence of climate change strategies, that could reasonably easily be found by ordinary concerned citizens. PDF and word processor documents have not been included unless these can be accessed from a dedicated climate change page, or another easily found page. Information that appears to be more than 6 months old may not be recorded unless it suggests some current or ongoing activity. One or two websites may have been temporarily unavailable at the time of a search, in which case no information has been recorded. If no search facility could be found, or did not appear to be working properly at the times of searches, no information was recorded.
Related topics Edit