Councillor attitudes to net zero and the climate crisis

Climate Emergency

Over the last twelve months, BECG has commissioned a range of climate-focused polling to test the attitudes of elected councillors and Members of Parliament about the climate emergency and how the built environment sector can be part of the UK’s response.

Our latest report, published this week, focuses on the attitudes of local councillors towards net zero and the government’s approach to climate change. It is taken from a representative sample of more than 400 councillors from across all parties in England.

The key findings are:

1. Councillors’ understanding of key climate terms is mixed

70% of councillors say they have a good understanding of the term ‘net zero’ but other terms such as ‘green carbon’ are less widely understood.

2. Climate change is a top priority for councillors in making planning decisions

89% of councillors place sustainability and the environment at the top of their list when making planning decisions, on par with traffic and highway safety.

3. Some sustainability measures are more important to councillors than others

Councillors see sustainable transport connections, efficient insulation and use of natural light as by far the most important sustainability measures in planning. Well above biodiversity, solar panels or electric vehicle charging points.

4. Councillors doubt some elements of the Government ten point plan for a green recovery

Only 20% of councillors believe the Government will achieve its aim of installing 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028.

5. Councillors generally support onshore renewable energy

Over 80% of councillors say they support the development of local onshore renewable projects in their area.

6. Councillors view climate change targets with an element of scepticism

Only 45% of councillors believe their own local authority is on course to meet their net zero targets.

With 37 local authorities in the North West having declared a climate emergency and the growing salience of climate issues as an electoral priority (demonstrated by the success of the Green Party in May’s local elections) it has never been more important to understand how the climate agenda could affect the way investment into our build environment is perceived by decision-makers.

You can download the full report on councillor attitudes to net zero or find out more about how BECG is helping clients respond to the net zero agenda by visiting

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