TWO East Lancashire councils have been found the least climate-friendly areas in the north west.

A league table of the most climate-friendly areas in England and Wales has placed Pendle and Ribble Valley on the lowest rung of the ladder, but all local authorities need to do more according to the research by Friends of the Earth.

The research has helped to develop a new online tool which tells users how their local authority is performing compared to others in areas such as renewable energy, transport, housing and waste.

Pendle and the Ribble Valley came joint last of the list with a score of just 40 per cent.

But both councils stress they are taking action, having declared a climate emergency earlier this year.

Cllr Mohammed Iqbal, leader of Pendle Council, said: “We welcome the report from Friends of the Earth because it means this important issue is being debated.

“In Pendle one of the main problems is the energy inefficiency of our older terraced houses.

“We have around 56 per cent which is more than double the national average. We’ve done what we can so we want to work with the government to find ways of tackling this problem.

“And as a predominantly rural and hilly area it means cycling and walking to work can be more difficult.”

Cllr Tony Greaves, chairman of the Climate Emergency Working Group, added: “We intend to take urgent action in Pendle to tackle global heating and the effects of climate change.

“We know we can’t do it all and we’re planning to work collaboratively with our communities, including businesses, organisations and schools, to make a real difference.”

An action plan is now being pulled together which will be driven by Pendle Council and supported by those with an interest in tackling climate change locally.

Ribble Valley Council chief executive Marshal Scott said: “Ribble Valley is one of the sparsest boroughs in the country, with poor access to services, such as public transport, and is a considerable distance from service centres, such as Blackburn, Preston and Manchester, meaning cycling to work is unrealistic.

“Around 60 per cent of the borough is ‘off-grid’, with no mains gas or electricity, while over 500 properties do not even have mains water, rendering them by default less energy-efficient.

“Nevertheless, despite being a small rural authority, with limited resources, we are committed to protecting and enhancing the environmental quality of our area.

“A key objective in our new corporate strategy is to become a carbon neutral borough by 2030.

“And we recently increased our plastic household waste collection to include pots, tubs and trays; will shortly be installing electric charging points in our car parks and are working with the community to lobby for increased rail services between Clitheroe and Manchester.”

Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth chief executive, said: “All local authorities, even the best performing, need to ramp up what they are doing. We know we are facing a climate and ecological emergency that threatens our existence and the natural world. If we want to change things for the better, let's start at home.

“Doing things right now about climate change isn’t just good news for future generations and people most vulnerable to an erratic climate, it’s good for everyone. Creating cleaner and greener places to live means healthier, happier lives. It’s why local authorities need to take the lead by adopting ambitious local climate action plans, and who better to help them than communities.”