Our climate emergency petition – set out below – has now CLOSED on the St Albans District Council website.  Here are the next steps, and how you can help:

1) THANK YOU to the 1700 people who have signed the petition, online and on paper. We needed 500 to trigger a debate at the Council, and, with more than 3 times that, we’re over-whelmed by your support.

2) It will come to the Council meeting at 7pm on 10th July. These meetings are open to the public, so you can come to support and listen.

3) We expect a motion to be brought to the Council on the same night, enacting the petition. Councillors will vote on that motion at the meeting, and this vote is what will bind the Council to action. (Our petition is just a request.) We hope the motion will receive cross-party support. The new Leader of the Council has publicly stated that he intends to declare a climate emergency.

4) Want to help? PLEASE WRITE TO YOUR COUNCILLOR between now and the meeting, asking them to support the motion, and explaining your own concerns about the climate emergency. Let them know you care.  Let them know you want the Council to act.

  • You can find your councillor’s contact details here.
  • The wording of the petition is below.
  • You may want to refer to the long list of councils (of all political persuasions) who have already signed, which you can find here .

Thank you – againfor all your support.


Below is the full text of our petition.

We ask St Albans District Council to declare a climate emergency, and play a greater part in responding to it, with urgency.

The recent IPCC report warned that humanity has 11 years to take emergency action in order to prevent global warming greater than 1.5°C. Above this, the risks to humanity of floods, droughts, extreme heat and poverty become much greater, impacting on hundreds of millions more people.

Responding to this climate emergency is a non-party-political issue, which will affect us and our children for generations to come, requiring cooperation and collaboration across party-lines. Dozens of councils around the country have already declared climate emergencies, as have MPs in the UK parliament, and the Welsh Assembly.

We note the progress the Council has already made.  The latest report shows that the Council has reduced its total greenhouse gas emissions by 19% since 2008/09, and is on track to achieve the target of 20% by 2020.  This is a real achievement, but much more needs to be done for our district to play its full part in preventing climate change with the urgency required.

We ask the Council to:

  1. Declare that it recognises a Climate Emergency,
  2. Pledge to do everything within the Council’s power to make the whole of St Albans city and district carbon neutral by 2030,
  3. Within this, develop an ambitious sustainability strategy for reducing the Council’s own emissions, with an objective that the Council becomes carbon neutral by 2030,
  4. Call on national government for more powers and resources to make this pledge possible,
  5. Continue to work with partners across the district and region to deliver this new goal, through all relevant strategies and plans,
  6. Take account of climate impacts within existing decision-making processes,
  7. Report back to full Council in six months on an action plan to address the emergency, and then every six months after this on the progress being made, and
  8. Dedicate sufficient staff and budget to achieve these aims, including training all Council staff and councillors.

The petition is a community-led endeavour, prepared by the local charity Sustainable St Albans (charity number 1173118) with the support of St Albans Friends of the Earth. 

Background – many other councils have already declared a climate emergency

A growing number of other UK town, city and county councils have taken the step of declaring a climate emergency.  MPs have declared a UK climate emergency, as have the Welsh Assembly.  A range of different motions have been passed, but most pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and to implement action plans to achieve this.

At the time of writing (3rd May 2019), more than 50 councils have already passed motions, including;

Bath and North East Somerset
Brighton Hove City Council
Bristol City Council
Carlisle City Council
Carmarthenshire County Council
Cheltenham City & District Council
Cornwall County Council
Devon County Council
Durham County Council
Forest of Dean District Council
Herefordshire Council
Kirklees Metropolitan District Council
Lambeth Borough Council
Lancaster City Council
Leeds City Council
Leicester City Council
London (Greater London Authority)
Manchester City Council
Mendip District Council
Milton Keynes
North Somerset District Council
Nottingham City Council
Oswestry Town Council
Oxford City Council
Plymouth Council
Portsmouth City Council
Reading Borough Council
Redcar & Cleveland
Rushcliffe Borough Council
Scarborough Borough Council
Scilly Isles
Sheffield Council
Somerset County Council
South Lakeland District Council
Stroud District Council
Tower Hamlets
Trafford Council
Vale of White Horse
Wiltshire Council
York Council

Background : Why declare an emergency?

Global Warmingpic

A Climate Emergency declaration issued by a body in authority, such as a government or local council, can be a powerful catalyst for community-wide action if paired with a clear action plan.

The recent IPCC report warned that humanity has 11 years to take emergency action in order to prevent global warming greater than 1.5°C. Above this, the risks to humanity of floods, droughts, extreme heat and poverty become much greater, impacting on hundreds of millions more people.

People expect an emergency announcement when there is a life-threatening situation, and will hesitate to take any action themselves if nobody else appears to be taking the threat seriously. Think of a fire alarm. People might initially think it is just a drill, and will ignore it if everyone else does. But as soon as someone who is considered to be a leader says the fire is indeed real and points out the safest exit to use, everyone will drop what they are doing and evacuate.

So declaring a climate emergency is a vital first step.  It will empower our community, encourage others to follow suit, and help all of us treat the climate crisis as the existential emergency that it is.


* https://www.ipcc.ch/2018/10/08/summary-for-policymakers-of-ipcc-special-report-on-global-warming-of-1-5c-approved-by-governments/

* https://www.stalbans.gov.uk  Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report

* https://climateemergency.uk/blog/list-of-councils/