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Climate action, city regions and central government: a comparative analysis of the UK City Deals

Connor Smith, Dan van der Horst, Matt Lane & Mags Tingey


This CREDS working paper aims to identify and understand diversity in sub-national ambitions on climate action across the UK. Comparative analysis between sub-national governments helps to provide insights into the drivers and mechanisms by which geographically bounded institutions and actors,  including partnerships between Local Authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), and the Private Sector, may manage to innovate and pursue climate action ambitions at local and regional scales – even if the central government is less ambitious in that respect. Empirically we undertake a desk study that analyses existing documentation on the City Deals, a UK government initiative which was co-developed with local and regional institutions and actors that (at least partially) expressed particular sub-national visions and ambitions. We focus on the City Deals initiative because it provides a suitable basis for comparative analysis in that central government had a set approach to striking these ‘deals’ but left room for local and regional institutions and actors to negotiate distinctive plans for their respective areas.

The working paper is published on-line as three separate documents; this is the main report, which is complemented by the Executive Summary and the Annexes. We strongly welcome constructive feedback, scrutiny and further discussion on these matters at this crucial time when climate action needs to be accelerated at the national and local level.


Publication details

Smith, C., van der Horst, D., Lane, M. & Tingey, M. 2021. Climate action, city regions and central government: a comparative analysis of the UK City Deals. CREDS Working paper. Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions. Oxford, UK. ISBN: 978-1-913299-09-5

Banner photo credit: Alireza Attari on Unsplash