Greater Manchester Low Carbon Hub. Delivering Greater Manchester's transition to a low-carbon economy

GM Local Enterprise Partnership score joint second in national report

The research represents the first national review of all 39 LEPs’ commitments to tackling climate change and embracing the low carbon economy, based on information from their recent key strategies.

It was carried out by Sustainability West Midlands (SWM) with support from Climate UK, Climate Ready and Improvement Efficiency West Midlands, with additional funding from the European Union (EU) technical assistance programme.

Within the report GM is identified as ‘highly commended’ alongside Leeds City Region and Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (D2N2) LEPs as they appear in the top six in each climate change and low carbon economy metric commitment league table.

Using analysis the report provides good practice examples where LEPs are performing well and recommendations on how they can improve.

Key findings include:

• Despite the lack of certainty, clear guidance and resources from national government on what is expected from LEPs in terms of climate change, there is a good range of local good practice emerging from LEPs on addressing climate adaptation, mitigation and the low carbon economy.

• Overall performance is very varied. Promoting the low carbon economy, because of its strong links to economic growth, productivity and the requirements of EU funding is the strongest in terms of integration within LEPs leadership, strategy and delivery structures. The weakest is climate adaptation, despite the impact on supply chains and infrastructure.

• The amount of funding received by each LEP does not necessarily relate to the capability and ambition of LEPs on climate change and low carbon issues. However, there appears to be a strong geographical correlation, with northern LEPs overall demonstrating stronger commitment than southern LEPs.

Key recommendations:

• Embedding relevant elements of climate change and low carbon criteria into all programmes and projects will ultimately help achieve more resilient growth and productivity gains than relying only on a separate climate change and carbon programme.

• Cross-LEP working is not common on this agenda and by doing this more often would help to achieve potentially bigger results with less resource requirements. This is especially true with LEPs reshaping their boundaries to reflect the emerging combined local authority agenda.

• Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) and Climate UK should support the national LEP network to help encourage poorer performing LEPs on climate change and the low carbon economy to engage with better performing LEPs to benefit from peer support.

• As part of the devolution agenda government should expand existing LEP good practice ‘pathfinder’ initiatives to grow and resource clusters of leading LEPs on key sustainability themes. This would help drive local delivery and innovation to inform national policy, devolution deals and drive up performance where local delivery is poor.

• Identifying a sustainability board champion and/or establishing a sustainability working group can help drive forward results on climate change and the low carbon economy and should be considered in all LEPs.

• The detailed benchmark for an individual LEP can help inform an annual work plan for the board champion and working group. For example, in the West Midlands these form part of an ongoing support programme by SWM, Climate UK and partners. In other areas, contact Climate UK initially to see what help is available nationally and locally.

The full report contains good practice case studies, benchmarking tables, maps and recommendations to those working with LEPs. 

It’s aimed at those working with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) at the local and national level to integrate climate adaptation, mitigation and the low carbon economy into the economic strategies and the billion pounds worth of investments over the next five years. 


The full methodology of scoring, findings and recommendations are detailed in the report, which can be found here.

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