Category: Cities and local authorities

Luton Council Net Zero Roadmap and Climate Policy and Action Plan

Aether, alongside SE2 and associate Joanne Wade, developed a Net Zero Roadmap and Climate Policy and Action Plan to support the council in its vision of a net zero town by 2040.

The challenge 

Luton Borough Council declared a climate emergency in 2020. As part of Luton’s 2040 vision, the council has committed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the council estate to net zero and lead the way to a net zero town by 2040. The vision for Luton 2020-2040 is built around a single unifying mission for everyone in Luton - to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to thrive and no-one has to live in poverty. Luton suffers from one of the highest poverty rates in the country and therefore action on climate change needs to support Luton in delivering on its strategic priorities of securing strong economic recovery, alleviating the impact of poverty and reducing health inequalities.

Luton Borough Council contracted Aether, together with SE2 and associate Joanne Wade, to provide support in outlining the route to net zero for both the council and borough through development of a Net Zero Roadmap and Action Plan.  

The solution

Aether and partners provided support through a variety of tasks. We:

  • Defined the boundary of which emission sources are included in the net zero target 
  • Compiled an emissions baseline for the borough and council estate
  • Conducted stakeholder workshops
  • Produced a Climate Policy and Action Plan and Net Zero Roadmap

Aether produced an emissions baseline for the borough of Luton using latest available datasets, including emissions from activities at London Luton Airport. Compiling an emissions baseline allowed for a greater understanding of the key emission sources in the area, and therefore where action should be prioritised.

The baseline emission estimates were presented at a variety of stakeholder workshops for the council, local businesses, and community groups to initiate discussions on the approach to achieving net zero. The stakeholder workshops also covered identification of potential actions to reduce emissions, possible barriers with implementing these actions, and identification of solutions to overcome these barriers.

Aether and partners used these discussions, in addition to a policy gap analysis and a review of best practice actions for sectoral decarbonisation, to produce a Climate Policy and Action Plan document. A summary of this action plan was then visually presented in the Net Zero Roadmap. The Roadmap lists priorities and key actions for the main sources of carbon emissions at a local level and defines three main stages on the pathway to net zero: Foundations (what we can do to start the journey), Scaling Up (how we will make this work across multiple sectors) and Reaching Net Zero (widespread implementation of actions).

The result

Luton Borough Council now has an improved understanding of the scale and types of actions required within the borough to work towards their net zero target. The council also has an improved awareness of where it can use its influence to reduce emissions in the borough as well as indicative timeframes to progress the actions identified. The Net Zero Roadmap and draft climate change policy and action plan are currently out for public consultation


The next steps for Luton Borough Council will be to consider the comments received during the consultation process, to make positive changes and to make demands of Central Government to enable the significant changes that are required to meet the challenges of reaching net zero carbon. 


Read more about our work supporting local authorities here.

See all case studies

Kirsten May

Principal Consultant

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