The general election may be the immediate focus of political commentary, but elections in six city regions will bring an important new tier of political decision making to England that will be worth watching. The election of new metro mayors will unlock the devolution of powers and budgets to the city region level, giving Westminster the confidence to hand power down.
At Green Alliance we’re interested in the potential of cities to add dynamism to the low carbon economy. They are well placed to realise the tangible benefits: through public transport improvements, growing low carbon industries and green jobs, and developing sustainable, liveable communities. Read more
Should yesterday’s European elections matter to us? When it comes to tackling climate change, the answer is an emphatic yes. Former MEP, Chris Huhne, argues that the values you care about should be reflected in the people sent to Brussels to represent you. They may seem faceless, distant and pointless, but they have real power on many of the issues that affect the places we live and work.
The economies of sub-Saharan Africa are growing fast. But this fact hides the realities of life for much of the region’s population. It’s staggering that 70 per cent of the population still has no access to electricity.That’s a stark statistic, as is the experience that lies behind it. When the sun goes down, people’s lives really do go dark, preventing activities we take for granted, like studying, working and socialising. Nearly a third of all health facilities lack the light needed for vital operations and can’t keep medicines cool, and two thirds of primary schools have no electricity. Read more
In its bid to unlock growth around the country, the government is turning to cities for help. The UK’s major urban hubs have been given decision-making powers, devolved funding and new financing models in return for drawing up growth plans. Eight of these ‘city deals’ were agreed in July 2012 with Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield. And a further 20 cities now have the opportunity to do the same in a second wave of deals. Read more
I’m currently moving house. It’s stressful, but the process offers a real highlight for the policy geek in me, as I’ve commissioned an EPC in order to sell my current home and can pore over them for homes I’m considering moving to. Having lobbied for them as a tool with the potential to influence people’s purchasing decisions in the shorter-term, and the potential to be transformed into a regulatory instrument that drives the retrofitting of draughty, inefficient houses in the longer-term, I was keen to see what the consumer experience of them was like.
It didn’t start out well. Read more
I never thought the day would come when I’d find myself agreeing with the TaxPayers’ Alliance over three environmentalists. But a recent event I went to re-inforced some key points about how we should and shouldn’t communicate environmental messages. Read more