Our data

Data sources

Much of our data is crowdsourced by an army of volunteers filling in Google spreadsheets. This is then combined with some standard data to enable it to be matched up across sources.

Links to council climate action plans were crowdsourced in this spreadsheet. If you find a plan document that we’ve missed, read our guide on what we consider a climate action plan and how to add one to our spreadsheet.

Climate Emergency UK

Council climate emergency declarations and net zero commitments were largely collated by Climate Emergency UK staff.

Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Local authority CO2 emissions estimates are collated by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Council Climate Plan Scorecards Mapolitical

We make use of data from our Council Climate Plan Scorecards project, which was collected with the support of Mapolitical, who donated their UK Government Political Stakeholder data and Look-up API to help us communicate with local authority officers. Read more on the Council Climate Plan Scorecards site.

Download all plans

Download ZIP archive of all documents

This includes all the documents we’ve found including Climate Action Plans, Climate strategies, pre plans etc. As well as the PDFs, or HTML pages, of the plans, this includes a CSV file (plans.csv) with details and sources for all the included files, along with information like GSS codes to enable linking to other data. The CSV file is available separately, see below for details.

API

Access our JSON API

We are working to expose an increasing quantity of our data through our JSON API. The API pages themselves include a full description of the data available.

CSV files

If you need to use our data in your own spreadsheets then the following data is available to download as CSV files:

Download council plan metadata

Download council net zero commitments

Download climate emergency declarations

Download emissions reduction projects

All the above CSV files include the council GSS code, and a three letter council code you can use with the API, to enable matching data across files, and with other sources.

While most of the details in the plans CSV are hopefully fairly straightforward there are a few which require further explanations:

last_updateThis is the date we last updated any information about the plan. It is not the date the plan was last updated.
urlThe URL where the plan was fetched.
plan_pathThis is the path to download the plan from our website.
scopeCouncil only means the plan only deals with the council’s operations. Whole area means the plan covers non council activities within council boundaries as well.

The CSV of emissions reduction projects is limited to Scottish local authorities (see reasoning below), and contains the following data:

council_nameHuman-readable name for the council
authority_codeThree letter council code as above
start_yearReporting start year
end_yearReporting end year
data_typeThis is always “projects”
emission_savingsEmissions saved in tCO2e
project_nameName of the project
lifetimeLength of the project in years
costCapital cost of the project
funding_sourceWhere the funding for the project came from
emission_sourceWhere the emissions savings come from
annual_savingsAnnual cost savings
measurementIf the emissions savings are measured or estimated
savings_startYear the savings start
commentsOptional comments about this project

Full explanations of the data can be found in the guidance on the Sustainable Scotland Network site.

Licensing

The API data and CSV files are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The ZIP file is unlicensed as it contains work issued by local authorities under many licenses.

Similar councils

We have built on open datasets to provide comparisons between councils that are similar in a number of dimensions. You can read a detailed breakdown of how we calculated these dimensions on our blog, but here’s a high-level summary:

Overall

This comparison set combines all the other measures into a single list of similar councils.

Councils may be highly rated because they are very similar in one degree, or because they are slightly similar across several.

Emissions

This comparison set shows councils who have a similar emissions profile to each other.

The goal is to try and draw comparisons between similar emissions in similar circumstances. The five different categories in the BEIS dataset are adjusted in different ways, and then councils are positioned on how different they are to each other.

Nearby

This comparison set shows councils which geographically border or overlap with the selected council.

IMD

The similarity between authorities is calculated by the proportion of the population living in high deprivation (1st quintile), medium deprivation (2nd-3rd quintile) and low deprivation (4th and 5th quintile) neighbourhoods. The population density is also used to help distinguish between authorities with very similar profiles of deprivation.

The labelling scheme is based on a composite score for the whole local authority. The quintile labels are assigned based on lower-tier population, and county and combined authorities are then slotted into based on their relative score.

This UK-wide comparison is based on a Composite Index of Multiple Deprivation system.

Rural/Urban

The similarity between authorities is calculated by the proportion of the population living in urban, rural, and highly rural neighbourhoods. The population density is also used to help distinguish between authorities in entirely urban areas.

This UK-wide comparison is based on a Composite Rural Urban Classification system.

Emissions reduction projects

We are able to display emissions reduction projects reported by Scottish local authorities, thanks to the ‘Climate Change (Duties of Public Bodies; Reporting Requirements) (Scotland) Order 2015’ which requires them to submit reports on their climate actions to the Sustainable Scotland Network website each year.

We automatically collect these reports, extract information about the local authorities’ emissions reduction projects, and display them in a more accessible, interactive format, here.

Sadly local authorities in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland have no corresponding reporting requirement, so data is unavailable for them.

Feedback

If you find this data useful we’d love to hear from you about how it was used. It’s helpful for guiding future work, providing examples to others and for talking to existing and current funders.

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This is a new service – your feedback will help us improve it.