Brown's green plan and local government reform

20 Nov 2007 by Karl Hallam

Gordon Brown's first big speech on the environment suggested that the UK's emission target of a 60% cut by 2050 could be increased to 80%. The responsisbility to deliver this target will largely devolve to local government. Are they up to the job?

Political parties that nationally support green policies often don't manage to carry through that commitment when it comes to local decision making. There are plenty of wind farms that are not being built because of the worse kind of 'local' politics and no congestion charging in Edinburgh either.

In 2006 Cadence wrote an article in a South Yorkshire Business magazine suggesting the Mayoral model had a lot to offer, as long it was combined with "more powers for local Councillors to have a greater effect on neighbourhood level issues".

A Mayor could lay out an environmental vision for a city, or 'city-region', perhaps with incentives to attract environmental technology businesses. Local governance could mean neighbourhoods having the powers to ban plastic bags in their area, or even more radically restrict car access and use.

Cadence hope to be involved in a research project that looks at these issues in more detail in 2008.

It's worth noting that Brown's speech did not mention local government reform in any detail, but did mention a 'green hotline' for people seeking help on reducing their emissions ... sounds worryingly like the cones hotline to us.


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