Work - Blog

Who will own the energy transition?

To mark the release of the Community-led Energy Planning toolkit, Helen Power looks back at the pilot project on which the toolkit is based and considers how ownership relates to the just transition. 

There can be no doubt of the willingness of local authorities to support and advance on the UK’s 2050 net zero target, nor that they are well placed to translate national ambitions into action. Our councils have centuries of pedigree in acting as place shapers, problem solvers and conveners, but locally-led interventions can often place them in the firing line of both public and political resistance
“Oldham Energy Futures […] has taken a different approach”
Citizens assemblies and juries are increasingly popular as a means to building public legitimacy on climate related decision-making. But, while these approaches build consensus amongst participants regarding solutions already on the table, they are rarely used to shape the delivery of energy transition interventions themselves. The Oldham Energy Futures project, of which CLES has been a delivery partner over the last 18 months, has taken a different approach.  

Post-pandemic social value in Manchester

”They return the love around here, don’t they?” – Guy Garvey
In its recently published Levelling Up White Paper, the government argued that the power of public procurement should be used to deliver support to communities and pledged to put social value at the heart of government spending. The forthcoming Procurement Bill will, the government argue, provide the means to realise this ambition. In this, there is much that can be learned from the work of Manchester City Council.

A community wealth building energy transition 

On the eve of COP26, and with the challenges we face in tackling the climate crisis becoming ever more apparent, CLES and Carbon Co-op today release a major new toolkit for councils, a community wealth building energy transition.  The toolkit shows that councils have a vital role to play in addressing the climate emergency in a way that generates the greatest benefit for communities.   

A critical element of tackling the climate emergency will be the transition away from fossil fuel-based energy – meaning a significant shift in the way our energy system operates, and how we generate and use energy. The government’s most recent announcements – with their heavy emphasis on new and innovative technology around hydrogen and nuclear energy – are blind to the importance of ensuring that this transition serves local people and places. But, as is becoming ever more apparent, our localities are where the social and economic consequences of the climate crisis will be felt. That is why we have developed this toolkit: to explore the work happening across the UK to progress the energy transition on a local level, whilst also building community wealth and – most importantly – to enable local authorities to develop their own community wealth building energy transition.  

Caring for the earth, caring for each other

During the peak of the first lockdown, people gathered on their doorsteps to clap for carers. Now it’s time to truly recognise their value.

The inadequacies of England’s current adult social care system have been harrowingly exposed by Covid-19. However, the origins of the present crisis long precede the pandemic. For too long, caring and nurturing work, predominantly performed by women, has been devalued. Caring for the earth, caring for each other: a radical industrial strategy for adult social care, a new joint report from CLES and Common Wealth, argues that care work should be valued and invested in as green work, and calls for a people-centred industrial strategy for adult social care.
“the care system should be at the heart of the plan for a just and green recovery”
The devaluation of care work has been accelerated by privatisation and commercialisation, which has driven a race to the bottom in care worker pay and conditions and a deterioration in care quality. Reimagining the care system should be at the heart of the plan for a just and green recovery from Covid-19. In designing the more just and sustainable decarbonised economy of the future, care must be recognised as a service vital for our collective wellbeing: one that needs to be substantially expanded and better valued.

From recovery to reform: support for your new local economy

CLES has recently released two papers exploring the Covid-19 pandemic and how community wealth building offers a tried and tested means to deliver economic recovery and reform. At the core of these papers lies a simple emergent truism – there is no going back to the economy of old.

Drawing on our wealth of practice over three decades in all four nations of the United Kingdom, CLES has developed packages of support for those at the front line of the economic reform process.