Over the summer, we were invited to be a part of the Local Mission Zero Network consultation, and we’re thrilled that our key fragmented data policy recommendations have been included in the new report, as well as recognition for some of our wider work on climate.
Rt Hon Chris Skidmore OBE MP, former Net Zero Review Chair and one of the co-authors of the report, said:
“The Local Mission Zero Network’s first report, The Future Is Local, sets out over thirty recommendations to further the Net Zero Review’s local delivery mission. It’s clear that if central government won’t step up, it should get out of the way and allow local and regional leaders to forge ahead with their positive vision to achieve local Net Zero in partnership with communities up and down the country. Unleashing their ambition is the most effective way to harness the economic and regional growth opportunities that Net Zero can unlock.
I’d like to thank MySociety for their involvement in the network and also for their input in making key recommendations on the need for better data and information to achieve Net zero.”
The report, co-authored with Lord Ben Houchen, released today, is “intended not only to highlight the continued challenges facing the local delivery of net zero, it also seeks to frame these challenges into a new framework for ensuring local authorities and regions have the certainty to achieve their net zero ambitions”. It is a much needed intervention, and makes clear that “in the current policy environment, and ahead of the next General Election, greater certainty over local net zero is essential”.
Within Recommendation 1, Introduce a Local Net Zero Charter to agree responsibilities and enhance partnership between the UK government, devolved governments and regional, city and local authorities, there are three specific recommendations relating to our fragmented data work:
1f) A Local Net Zero Data and Reporting Framework should be established, in order to provide consistency and increase integrity for reporting across local authorities.
1g) The Net Zero Review recommended that ONS should collect more forms of net zero related data, and this network maintains that net zero will be better delivered the more we know, and where we know action needs to take place.
1h) The need for open source and operable data is also important, if we are to encourage better uses of AI and future systems thinking. This data to be held in a central repository, supported by a central government data convenor.
In the Unlocking the value of fragmented public data report we published last year, we stress the importance of local climate data being published in a way that is useful, ultimately creating positive feedback loops across the economy. It’s great to see the report emphasise this:
“The challenge of fragmented and inoperable data standards is not merely a matter for more effective local authority performance. The future of energy system planning could be better forecast if several datasets were better aligned.”
The body of the report also highlights our conclusions about the kinds of climate data we need:
more about how local authorities reflect on their own progress. In these instances, free text which we can semantically search, is often most helpful. We need data around:
- Personnel, systems & processes to manage climate monitoring and reporting. This helps us to understand who is doing the work, and how resource allocation happens.
- Progress since the last reporting period, and key areas of focus for the period ahead. This gives a vital sense of context and perspective from inside the reporting body, and helps situate the scale of work undertaken against work yet to be done.
Finally, our CAPE project was mentioned as “effective monitor[ing]”, and we were so pleased to see the work we do with Climate Emergency UK to create the Climate Scorecards recognised: “By simplifying complex data, it allowed stakeholders to identify gaps and progress in climate initiatives, empowering communities to advocate for change”.
If you’d like to read the report in full, you can find it here. You may even want to share some of the recommendations from the report with your MP, which you could do using our service WriteToThem.
Any questions for our policy team? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Image: Minku Kang on Unsplash