Group bulletin: 12 November 2021

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

12 November 2021


Dear colleagues,


A number of our members attended COP26 over the last two weeks, speaking up effectively inside and outside the arena, demonstrating just how much the drastic impact of human impact on climate change matters. Thanks to colleagues who sent in photos and case studies of their climate change initiatives which were displayed on a rolling slideshow all day as part of our busy manned stand in the Green Zone. I was an LGA speaker at three events: a passionate 'call to action' event; a more measured event on planning and the environment; and a session for local governments in Europe. Colleagues and I also worked with the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), which is the voice of local government worldwide, to help get the wording improved in the final declaration – making sure that local government is identified as part of the solution.

The Paris-agreed goal is to minimise the impact on our planet to a maximum global warming of 1.5 degrees. On our current trajectory, the earth will heat by 2.7 degrees by 2050. If all the promises were costed and put into place, we would reach 2.4 degrees, which sadly, is not enough. Does it matter? Imagine how it will be when great cities and whole countries have become uninhabitable because of the increasing extremes of weather – when England shrinks as riverine and coastal areas flood, taking people’s homes and land currently needed to grow food. The science is clear, but perhaps most convincing are the changes we see with our own eyes.

COP26 has been an amazing, vibrant event with big discussions in every corner and with so many people encouraging each other to do more. The downside is that it is not enough. This is not about building more; it is about building less. Planting trees and moving to electricity is the green economy which is much discussed, but it doesn’t work as an excuse to keep up our rate of consumption. Nothing is arriving or leaving the planet – we sit in our own waste, including greenhouse gases. A circular economy means no waste – ensuring that waste becomes a raw material for the next item. A no-waste economy, and preserving resources, is where we need to concentrate our innovation and efforts. There are many initiatives and what we need is a proper costed strategy with the impacts calculated, costed and funded.

Some of the opening speeches were really excellent and well worth replaying. You can find more out about the LGA’s activity on climate change as well as good practice from around the country on our Climate Change Hub.

Biodiversity e-learning

The LGA has launched a new e-learning module on biodiversity for council officers and members. The module offers an introduction to the subject and provides guidance on how councils can take action to protect their local natural habitats. You can register for the module on our e-learning platform. Our work is far from done, so do keep sharing your local activities so we can all make the much-needed changes our planet needs – together.

Group survey

Our survey on engagement is open for only a few more days. Please do complete the survey and share it with other LGA Independent Group members in your group. It takes just over five minutes to complete and will shape the way we support you over the next two years.

Candidate School

Our Candidate School for prospective Independent councillors has begun. If you know someone who is thinking of standing, they are welcome to attend as many sessions as they wish, all for free!

Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

In 2022, the Queen will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee and, to celebrate, there will be an extended bank holiday next June. Councils are being encouraged to get involved by taking part in the long-standing tradition of lighting the beacons. If your council is interested in taking part, you can find more details in the official guide, or contact the Queen’s Pageant Master Bruno Peek at

Council meetings survey

We continue to call on Government to allow councils to use virtual and hybrid council meeting options. I asked the Secretary of State Michael Gove about this, and it is encouraging that he has expressed his instinct to support councils to be able to hold hybrid meetings in all four of our nations. (England is the only one where councillors cannot vote remotely.) To support our efforts, we are conducting a survey to look at the impacts of returning exclusively to in-person meetings since May this year. It has been sent to a named officer in each council and the deadline has been extended to 19 November. If you have evidence that you are able to share, please email it to

Council meetings template letters

The LGA has developed two model letters for councillors and councils to highlight their support of virtual council meeting options to their local MP and to the relevant Government minister. The letters can be adapted to the needs of the sender, and users of the templates are encouraged to include examples of their own experiences and local circumstances. More information about our support for virtual meetings for councils can be found on the LGA's Online and Hybrid Meetings Hub.

Personal safety webinars for councillors

The LGA has launched a series of webinars to help to support councillors’ personal safety while they carry out their everyday activities, covering risk assessments and practical strategies for safe working. The first personal safety webinar will take place on Wednesday 8 December from 10.30am to 12pm. Register for this free webinar

Wishing you good luck in all you do,

Councillor Marianne Overton MBE signature

Councillor Marianne Overton
Leader of the Independent Group
Vice Chair of the Local Government Association

Portrait photo of Marianne Overton