How we secured climate promises from newly elected mayors

Thanks to Friends of the Earth community groups, 8 newly elected mayors have promised climate and nature action. Find out how we secured their commitments.
  Published:  10 May 2024    |      2 minute read

Which mayors have pledged?

On Thursday 2 May 2024, elections for 9 combined authority mayors and the Mayor of London took place across England. These mayors are directly elected leaders and can use their significant influence to tackle the climate and nature emergency. So, we asked candidates to commit to ambitious, urgent and meaningful action by signing our mayoral pledge:

I recognise the vital role I have in working with communities to meet our legally binding 2030 climate commitments. I pledge, if elected, to use my powers, funding and influence to deliver the actions necessary to tackle the climate and nature emergencies and build a fairer society for all in my area.

37 prospective mayors signed the pledge, meaning 4 out of 5 of all candidates we asked to take it did. Of those who’ve been elected as mayors, a whopping 8 out of 10 signed our pledge. These are: Claire Ward (East Midlands), Andy Burnham (Greater Manchester), Steve Rotherham (Liverpool City Region), Kim McGuinness (North East), Oliver Coppard (South Yorkshire), Richard Parker (West Midlands), Tracy Brabin (West Yorkshire) and David Skaith (York and North Yorkshire).

This is a fantastic achievement. Not only does it show the strength of support for climate and nature action by those in power, but it also allows us to hold these decision makers to account and ensure they follow through on their promises. 

How did we secure their commitments?

In a world where it's famously difficult to get commitments from politicians, Friends of the Earth groups managed to break the mould. In the run-up to the elections, our network campaigned tirelessly to secure pledges from as many candidates as possible. Friends of the Earth local action groups and coalitions held more than 16 meetings with candidates, encouraging them to sign the pledge. Our supporters also sent almost 4,000 emails to local candidates asking them to sign. And our London Friends of the Earth network ranked the manifestos of candidates from the 4 main political parties, which went down a storm on X (formerly Twitter). 

Groups also held or supported 6 hustings, allowing large numbers of local people to ask questions directly of candidates. In the East Midlands, we joined with Fuel Poverty Action, Derbyshire and Nottingham Wildlife Trusts and the D2N2 Active Travel Coalition to put candidates on the spot and hear their views on key environmental issues via an online hustings, attended by 190 people. Meanwhile in York and North Yorkshire, the hustings was attended by 140 people, was co-chaired by a member of York Friends of the Earth and a young activist from the Regional Youth Climate Assembly, and was supported by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, CPRE, the National Trust and the WI.

Audience members sat watching 4 panellists talk on a stage
North East mayoral hustings

What’s next?

These elections showcased the power of collective action. Together, we secured meaningful climate and nature promises from our leaders that we can hold them to for years to come. 

But our campaign doesn’t end there. Our tailored Climate Action Plans for each mayor use local data to highlight the urgent change needed, present a low-carbon vision for each area, and, crucially, explain the practical actions needed to get there. We’ll be working alongside our community of local groups to ensure our mayors deliver on these ambitious plans. Want to get involved?