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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Climate and nature crises on trial

Tees Valley and County Durham residents’ chance to join ‘citizens’ jury’ on how to tackle the climate and nature crises

5,000 letters are winging their way to homes across the Tees Valley and County Durham this week, inviting residents to have their say on how to tackle the climate and nature crises in a way that is fair for everyone.

A cross-party commission, set-up by a leading think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), has written to residents across the area, offering them the opportunity to apply to join a ‘Citizens Jury’. The jury will inform the Environmental Justice Commission on the practical steps needed to address the climate crisis and restore nature and how the opportunities of creating jobs and improving quality of life in Tees Valley and County Durham can be maximised.

The Commission, which is co-chaired by senior MPs Hilary Benn (Labour), Caroline Lucas (Green) and former MP Laura Sandys (Conservative), will come to the Tees Valley this autumn to hold the jury - an innovative way to empower people in the policy development process.

The IPPR Environmental Justice Commission was set up to develop ideas and policies that put people and fairness at the heart of the response to the climate and nature crises.

23 jurors representing a diverse range of people from across the area will be chosen to form the group. It will hear evidence, and shape policy ideas on tackling the climate crisis and restoring nature in a way that is fair for local people. These ideas will be published as part of a local plan for Tees Valley and County Durham, to influence local and national politicians.

Hilary Benn MP, Co-Chair of IPPR’s Environmental Justice Commission, said:

“People will have to be at the heart of the transformation to a net-zero economy. That’s why the Environmental Justice Commission is doing things differently and will be coming to the Tees Valley and County Durham to hear from local people how they think our economy can be transformed in a fair way.

“The economic crisis caused by Covid means that things are going to have to change, so why don’t we tackle the climate crisis and the damage we are doing to the natural world at the same time? The big question is how best to do this, and that’s why we want to hear ideas and proposals from local people so that together we can build a better future.”

Laura Sandys, Co-Chair of IPPR’s Environmental Justice Commission, said:

Tees Valley and Durham have a very proud industrial history with great businesses, jobs and communities and you need to determine the fair, just and successful route to decarbonise. The Commission aims to support people in shaping, designing and building a stronger future through the journey to a modern cleaner economy without leaving anyone behind while mitigating against some of the more invidious impacts of climate change.”

Caroline Lucas MP, Co-Chair of IPPR’s Environmental Justice Commission, said:

“Citizens’ juries have a vital role to play, not only in shaping how we reset our economy in the wake of Covid, but also in changing the way politics and power are exercised. 

Politics is about taking difficult decisions and weighing up competing priorities, and its vital that this is done with people, not to them. We’ve already seen the trailblazing work of the UK Climate Assembly on how we should respond to the climate emergency.  So I’m delighted that a citizens’ jury in Tees Valley will now be part of the debate on how we reach net zero and build back better in a fair, sustainable and just way.”



Rosie Lockwood, Media and Campaigns Manager for IPPR North, [email protected], 07585772633.


  1. Luke Murphy, Head of the Environmental Commission is available for interview
  2. IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices across the UK, IPPR is the only national think tank with a truly national presence. In addition, IPPR North is the North of England’s leading think-tank. We develop bold, progressive ideas to empower England’s region and have 16 years of independent research & influence. For more information, visit
  3. The IPPR Environmental Justice Commission (EJC) is a landmark initiative building on IPPR’s award winning work on environmental breakdown and its Commission for Economic Justice. The commission is co-chaired by Caroline Lucas MP, Laura Sandys, and Hilary Benn MP and they are joined by commissioners drawn from business, activism, academia, civil society, and trade unionism.
  4. The goal of the EJC is to “Present an ambitious, positive vision shaped around people’s experiences and needs, and develop a plan of action that integrates policy both to address the climate and environmental emergencies and to deliver economic and social justice.”
  5. 5,000 residents across the Tees Valley and parts of County Durham will receive a letter this week inviting them to apply to join the Environmental Justice Commission’s Citizens Jury. The 23 members of the Citizens Jury will be selected by sortition, and given £270 to compensate them for their time.