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We are a cross-party, member-led network, providing a single voice for our member councils

Environment, sustainability and net zero

District councils are the guardians of the local environment – a role which gives us a strong influence on protecting and enhancing the global environment.

Our responsibility for planning, housing, waste collection and recycling, environmental services, parks and recreation and economic development makes us ideally placed to lead the drive to make places greener and more pleasant, to reduce carbon dependency, and to promote clean growth.

As the most local principal authorities we also have an unrivalled convening power to bring together our communities, businesses, charities and public sector partners in our places to safeguard and nurture biodiversity and seek localised solutions that help our places move towards net zero.

With the vast majority of district councils having declared climate emergencies, our will to lead our places to a greener transition is undeniable. However, many barriers remain to district councils truly fulfilling their environmental potential. DCN campaigns to remove the financial and legislative barriers which impose a ceiling on our green ambitions.


We are currently prioritising three issues for action and have a series of aims for each:

Enhance the planning system to deliver net zero and green growth

  • Push for the Government to update the National Planning Policy Framework to require higher environmental standards in house building

Keep waste collection local and promote waste reduction

  • Push for district councils to retain flexibility to collect waste in the way that works best for their local area and delivers the best environmental benefits.
  • Ensure that councils are fully funded for any reforms to waste collection that ministers decide to implement and that implementation timescales are realistic
  • Make the case for a more strategic approach to waste, focusing on reducing waste at source.

Drive a revolution in retrofitting and energy efficiency

  • Create new mechanisms to facilitate the retrofitting of social housing and other council assets.
  • Lobby the government to give local housing authorities the power to stimulate markets for local retrofit action.
  • Push for simplified funding and local retrofit hubs by 2025 to deliver support for private homeowners to make efficiency improvements.

DCN spokesperson: Sarah Nelmes, leader, Three Rivers District Council


Lead chief executives: Mark Davies, Lancaster City Council, and Jonathan Stephenson, Brentwood Borough Council and Rochford District Council

MDavies@lancaster.gov.uk; Jonathan.stephenson@brentwood.rochford.gov.uk

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