This page has all the information you need to know about the Citizens' Assembly

“What should we do in the region to address climate change and its causes fairly, effectively and quickly?”

Contribute to the assembly by emailing your comments to

The Citizens’ Assembly started on 24 February and ended on 24th March 2021. It  ran for a total of 30 hours over eight sessions. The assembly members  listened to and questioned a range of expert commentators before creating a set of recommendations for the North of Tyne Cabinet to consider.

The Assembly was delivered online due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, hosted by Shared Future.  IT equipment, broadband and coaching on how to use video conferencing was provided to participants who needed it.  The Assembly are currently prioritising their recommendations.  Follow NTCA on FacebookNextdoor, Twitter and YouTube for updates.

Session Videos and Interviews

Session 1  (24th February)

Introduction to the North of Tyne Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change  

In this video Mayor Jamie Driscoll welcomes the Assembly members and talks about why what they think is important for the region

Critical Thinking and Bias

Dr Stephen Elstub, Reader in British Politics, Newcastle University explains critical thinking and bias, includes video on Critical Thinking newDemocracy Foundation. Stephen is a member of the Citizens’ Assembly Oversight Panel.

Session 2  (28th February)

An Introduction to Climate Change

Sir Brian Hoskins, Chair of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, and Dr Elizabeth Lewis, Lecturer in Computational Hydrology, Newcastle University explain what climate change is and talk about its impact now and in the future.


North of Tyne Emissions Now and in The Future  

Dr Tracy Crosbie, Reader in Sustainability in the Built Environment, Teeside University talks about where the emissions come from.


How Change Happens 

Lucy Stone, Fellow at Royal Society of Arts and Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity explains how to effect change and make it happen.

Session 3  (3rd March)

What the North of Tyne Combined Authority is doing to tackle climate change

Dr Leanne Wilson, Policy and Economy Advisor for Climate Change, North of Tyne Combined Authority talks about what the Combined Authority are doing on climate change.  Leanne is a member of the Citizens’ Assembly Oversight Panel.

What is Fairness?  Four presentations about fairness and climate change

Carole Botten, Chief Executive Officer of VONNE – Voluntary Organisations Network North East,

Beth Farhat, Regional Secretary (Northern), Trades Union Congress,

Sir Geoff Palmer, Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, and

Roman Krznaric, author of the book ‘The Good Ancestor: How to Think Long-Term in a Short-Term World’ give their views on the fairness and unfairness in relation to climate change.

Session 4  (10th March)

Housing and Climate Change

How do we make our existing housing better (retrofitting) and make sure new housing is efficient, generates energy and that planning regulations support this?

Callum Smith, Policy and Economy Advisor – Housing and Land Maters, North of Tyne Combined Authority

Professor Simin Davoudi, Professor of Environment and Planning, and Director of Global Urban Research Unit, Newcastle University

Matthew Copeland, Policy Manager, National Energy Action and

Professor Helen Jarvis, Professor of Social Geography Engagement, Newcastle University

Session 5 (13th March)

Transport and Climate Change

What needs to happen to reduce the impact of transport on climate change. How do we pay for any changes and ensure that we get better joined up transport systems?

Prof Phil Blythe, Professor of Intelligent Transport Systems, Newcastle University and Chief Scientific Adviser, Department for Transport

Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director, Go North East (buses)

Jonah Morris, Partnerships Manager North East & Cumbria, Sustrans

Session 6 (17th March) Was a closed session so there are no commentator videos

Session 7 (21st March)


Josh Sawyer, Rural Energy Officer, North East Local Enterprise Partnership

Tony Quinn, Catapult, Offshore Renewable Energy Forum

Jim Cardwell, Head of Policy Development, Northern Powergrid

and Gareth Davies, Aquatera and Chair of Orkney Renewable Energy Forum speak about renewable energy generation


“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.”

Jamie Driscoll
North of Tyne Mayor

What is a Citizens’ Assembly?

Citizens’ Assemblies differ from other forms of public engagement because their members are randomly selected to form a representative sample of the population. Citizens’ Assemblies (and the smaller Citizens’ Juries) have been run all over the world to help figure out what to do about big difficult problems.

How does the Citizens’ Assembly Work?

An Oversight Panel was established to ensure the process is fair and unbiased. They set the question which the Assembly are to consider and discuss, “What should we do in the region to address climate change and its causes fairly, effectively and quickly?”

The Assembly was  recruited via invites to 10,000 randomly selected addresses within the area. Individuals from age 15 upwards are invited to join the Assembly.  50 people were selected, from the 300 responses, they reflect the diversity of the region, (in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, geography, and attitude to climate change) using criteria decided by the Oversight Panel.

Assembly members attend a set amount of sessions to share ideas and opinions and to hear from a range of expert commentators who they can question. The Oversight Panel select the commentators for the initial sessions to set the context for the assembly, but after that the group will steer the sessions and identify the topics they wish to explore in their meetings.

A set of recommendations will be created by the Assembly and presented to the North of Tyne Mayor and Cabinet to consider.

Mayor Driscoll speaks to Pete Bryant of Shared Future about the Citizens’ Assembly process.

In February 2020 the North of Tyne Combined Authority’s Cabinet approved plans for a Citizens’ Assembly on climate change.  It is tasked with examining the regions response to the emergency of climate change.