The North of Tyne Combined Authority’s (NTCA’s) Cabinet has approved plans for a Citizens’ Assembly on climate change. North of Tyne will become the first devolved English region to involve the public in this way. Citizens’ Assemblies differ from other forms of public consultation because their members are randomly-selected to form a representative sample of the population in question.

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “The very definition of an emergency is that we have to act outside of the usual methods. Our councils are upgrading vehicle fleets, planting trees and installing solar panels. But it’s vital that we get our citizens involved. They can tell us what changes are possible in daily life to make rapid progress.”

Citizens’ Assemblies are becoming increasingly popular methods for public authorities to engage communities on action to tackle the climate emergency.

  • The national Climate Assembly commissioned by the House of Commons is currently considering how the UK should meet the Government’s net zero target.
  • The London Borough of Camden and Oxford City Council were among the first local authorities to use Citizens’ Assemblies to advise on local climate action when they took place last year.
  • The Greater Cambridge Partnership used a Citizens’ Assembly to test public appetite for stronger action to tackle congestion and air quality in the area.

Room full of people gathered to hear about the climate emergency

The North of Tyne plan involves commissioning an external organisation to design and facilitate the Citizens’ Assembly and to recruit participants. An Oversight Panel will be established to determine the detailed topic and questions to be put to the Citizens’ Assembly to consider.  Recommendations produced by the Citizens’ Assembly will be presented to the North of Tyne Cabinet for consideration.