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UK Net Zero Review

From the desk of Dan Green, Rugby Borough Council Deputy Chief Executive and Climate Change Advocate

UK Net Zero Review


The UK Government has published Chris Skidmore MP’s much anticipated independent review of its strategy for achieving net zero by 2050.

Chris Skidmore, is an MP and environmental campaigner who was commissioned to review the government’s strategy for achieving net zero by 2050 – a target which the UK is required by law to reach.

Over 1800 organisations and individuals submitted responses to the  Call for Evidence . The review makes recommendations for government, industry, local authorities and individual households –  and highlights that we are all responsible when it comes to achieving net zero.

Workplaces and the Economy

Part one focusses on Net Zero as a growth opportunity and recognises that the climate and economy are closely linked.  Transition to a net-zero economy presents opportunities from which the UK should be able to benefit.

The Review suggests that ultimately the economic benefits of net zero will outweigh the costs. It  estimates that the UK could see approximately 2% additional growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), through the benefits from new jobs, increased economic activity, reduced fossil fuel imports and cost savings.

The report says that we must move quickly to realise these opportunities, some of which are being missed today.

It draws seven conclusions:

  1. Net zero is creating a new era of change and opportunity.
  2. The UK must act decisively to seize the economic opportunities and smooth the transition.
  3. The benefits of investing in net zero today outweigh the costs.
  4. Unlocking the ambition of places and communities will deliver the most successful version of net zero.
  5. Net zero can materially improve people’s lives – now and in 2050 – but work is needed to secure the benefits and minimise costs.
  6. Net zero by 2050 remains the right target for the UK: it is backed by the science, widely followed, and is creating real opportunity.
  7. Significant additional government action is required to ensure that the UK achieves net zero in the best way possible for the economy and the public.

Part two of the review looks at how the UK can maximise the opportunities by working collaboratively, noting the roles of local authorities, communities and individuals to deliver the transition.

Climate Positive Communities


The Review is clear that there must be more locally led action on net zero. It recognises that communities want to act, and that government can help by providing central leadership, and empowering people and communities to deliver locally.

It says that government should put public engagement at the heart of its work on net zero, including:

  • A major expansion of the government's public reporting and engagement on net zero.
  • Putting power in people’s hands, providing consumers with the information they need to make the choices they want
  • Working with industry towards introducing a standardised approach to ecolabelling for as many products as possible by 2025.

The Review presents the potential benefits which net zero can bring to us all, including cost savings, homes that are warm in winter and cool in summer, cleaner air improved health and wellbeing and new jobs.  In delivering these benefits, the Review suggests that the role of individuals can be summarised as:

The Role of Local Government

The Review recognises the key role which local authorities must play in delivering Net Zero.

It notes that the Climate Change Committee (CCC) published a recent progress report which report noted:

It remains unclear how central, devolved and local government will operate coherently towards the net zero goal.

It suggests that by reforming the relationship between central and local government on net zero, local authorities can be empowered to deliver place-based, place-sensitive action and unlock the high levels of local net zero ambition that we have across the UK.

The Review makes the following recommendations:

  • Government should introduce a statutory duty for local authorities to take account of the UK’s net zero targets.
  • Government should simplify the net zero funding landscape for all local authorities by the next Spending Review.
  • Government should establish local net zero missions in 2023 for key policy areas to encourage places to go further and faster.
  • Government should fully back at least one Trailblazer Net Zero city, local authority, and community, with the aim for these places to reach net zero by 2030.
  • Central government should provide guidance, reporting mechanisms, and additional capacity and capability support to enable local authorities to better monitor and report their net zero progress.
  • Central government should reform the local planning system and the National Planning Policy Framework now, with a clearer vision on net zero.
  • Government should undertake a rapid review of the bottlenecks for net zero and energy efficiency projects in the planning system and ensure that local planning authorities are properly resourced to deliver faster turnaround times.

Key Actions for 2025

The review makes a total of 129 recommendations which aim to catalyse efforts to tackle emissions across every part of the economy. The review summarises a common message that is the need for clarity, certainty, consistency, and continuity from government and proposes ten priority missions to harness public and private action out to 2035:

Net Zero Rugby

The recommendations of the review are encouraging for the approach being taken in Rugby.

Our own Climate Change Strategy recognises the importance of many of the aspects identified within the report – be they related to the potential for benefit within workplaces and the economy or the need to engage and empower local communities who have the passion and expertise to make progress where government can not.

The Council’s cross party Climate Emergency Working Group are now considering the recommendations of the report and how they can be used to further our work in Rugby Borough.

The full review is available to read online