Friends of the Earth have developed an online tool which gathers data from each Local Authority area to help campaigners identify the key areas where action is needed. This blog describes how the Near You data tool was developed and how campaign groups can use it to push for change from local councils
Do you want to know how your local area is performing on key climate issues? Friends of the Earth have created the handy new Near You tool so you can have vital environmental facts about where you live at your fingertips.
Whether it’s Fareham needing to install 611 electric vehicle charging points by 2030, or nearly 6,000 homes a year requiring insulation upgrades in Brighton & Hove, this expert tool provides you with the data that can help you kickstart a conversation with your local council and community about what action they need to take. Not only that, you can also compare with the best performing similar area and be shown how other councils have implemented climate-friendly projects so your council can learn and follow suit.
For example, did you know Hastings Council has partnered with other East Sussex councils to help cut energy use and combat fuel poverty? Or that Kent County Council is using long term planning to protect and recover threatened species through habitat maintenance, restoration and creation?
The tool was developed in house by Friends of the Earth after they identified challenges that local campaign groups were facing in pushing for change from their local councils. The team wanted to provide relevant, local, and verified data and analysis to help campaigners on the ground secure the change needed to address the climate and ecological emergencies. To do this they needed to source reliable and robust data which could be translated into an easily digestible format for campaigners and councillors to use.
This was no mean feat, but the team stepped up to the challenge, sourcing data from the Office of National Statistics and other publicly available open sources, then combining them into one local authority-level data set for each area.
Perhaps the most challenging task for the team was to turn complex data into a story to inspire change for each local area. Thanks to some beautiful visualisation of the data by the design team, quotes from experts, and suggestions for which issues to prioritise in each area, the tool now gives a full picture that tells the story of your local area through the lens of climate action.
There is of course much more potential with this tool. The team are exploring the possibility of providing data and targets for larger geographical areas such as counties, cities or constituencies. As more data become available you’ll also be able to find out even more information about your local area, including on air and river pollution which will be added to Near You soon.
Big change starts small. The decisions we make in our local communities about climate and nature can help bring change at a national level – and this tool provides the perfect starting point for this. From home insulation to access to green space, take a look to find out how your neighbourhood is playing their part in tackling the climate crisis and what more they can do to lower emissions and help transform our future.
If you have any feedback about the tool, ideas for how it could be improved or want to share how you’ve used it locally, you can get in touch with the Near You team on firstname.lastname@example.org. They’re keen to make sure the tool works for you locally so any feedback is welcome!