“Fix the broken system”

This article originally appeared in the Municipal Journal.

At a time when both Westminster and the Scottish Government have U-turned on their climate commitments, local governments across the UK are plugging the gap in their efforts to tackle climate crisis. However, while localities recognise that climate action will be one of the critical factors shaping our places so that they are fit for the future, this work often goes under the radar, under-appreciated and under-funded.

Local authorities are taking action on climate because they know it’s the right thing for their places and not, as one officer put it, “because the government is allowing us to.”


    Our places, our planet

    15th May 2024

    Retrofitting housing

    15th December 2022
  • Retrofit: combatting wealth extraction

    Ahead of new research from CLES, IPPR North and South of Scotland Enterprise, investigating the possibilities of using a community wealth building approach to housing retrofit, CLES’s Antonia Jennings lays out the extent of the opportunity.

    As the cost-of-living crisis threatens to drive a million people into fuel poverty and while around 19% of carbon emissions in the UK come from home heating, the just decarbonisation of energy in our homes has never been more important.

    Local government at the heart of a just transition

    As the energy price cap rises today, CLES Senior Researcher, Ellie Radcliffe, reflects on her recent visit to the Apse Big Energy Summit and considers the role of local authorities in balancing climate and economic justice.

    Nearly three years since three hundred local authorities began to declare climate emergencies, the removal of the energy price cap today arrives as the Big Six energy companies have recorded over a billion pounds of profits. This is just part of the picture, with oil and gas giants BP and Shell spending over £147 billion in stock buybacks and shareholder dividends since 2010 – seven times more than what would be needed to keep households’ energy bills at a manageable level.
    “we need an approach to decarbonisation which changes the fundamental building blocks of economies”
    Such profiteering hits to the heart of why we need an approach to decarbonisation which changes the fundamental building blocks of economies, making them work for ordinary people and our places, as well as the planet. At CLES, we advocate for community wealth building as a pathway towards this just transition, with local government at its heart.

  • An end to austerity? Not for local government.

    This article originally appeared in the Local Government Chronicle

    The budget has found the money tree, but not for local economies, local public services or the climate.

    We need to look at where the money goes and who has power over it. Big finance, large infrastructure companies and the existing wealth winners all win again. Just and green local economies for all remain as distant as ever.

    Wider economic austerity has been abandoned – but let’s be clear, local government public service austerity remains, and so do the systemic economic issues bedevilling great swathes of this land.