Climate change and local policy: strategic themes and issues

Client:
South London Partnership
Start date:
September 2008
Completed:
February 2009

Objectives
Our work followed two threads:

1. To investigate what kind of projects and programmes were already endeavouring to tackle climate change in south London. The objectives of this research element included:

  • Examining local authority, private sector and voluntary sector climate change activity in the sub region;
  • Identifying good practice and potential areas for collaboration;
  • Examining opportunities for climate change mitigation, such as flood management, supporting biodiversity and tree planting; and
  • Identifying areas where behaviour change was needed.

2. To consider how climate change issues might best be integrated into the sub-region’s existing policy priorities. This ‘action planning’ element sought to:

  • Specify areas for sharing good practice and information, including identifying exemplar projects that could be rolled out;
  • Identify projects for closer public/private and voluntary sector collaboration;
  • Develop common messages on positive behaviour, good practice and benefits to encourage behaviour change among residents and businesses; and
  • Facilitate wider policy development and influencing regional and national policy.

Methodology
The first thread involved a document review, web-search, and telephone calls to stakeholders. The second, action planning thread, involved the development and refinement of a list of possible actions and ‘pros and cons’. This served to highlight the links between climate change and each of a short series of established policy priorities, namely: housing; health; the economy and skills; transport; and environment.

Findings and recommendations
Selected highlights from the first research phase were as follows:

  • We found many more borough specific schemes rather than schemes operating across south London as a whole or across London more widely;
  • From the information readily available, there did not appear to be a great deal of partnership working either across different types of delivery organisation or across a number of south London boroughs;
  • The vast majority of projects (74%) were delivered by local authorities;
  • The general public (i.e. local householders and residents) were the main target audience for just over half of the projects and initiatives identified; and
  • Projects tended to have a focus on climate change as a whole, although a sizeable minority of projects focused more specifically on issues surrounding energy and transport.

The remainder of the report comprised a short section on each of the policy priorities listed above and a short series of suggestions for possible next steps by the South London Partnership and/or the south London boroughs. These included recommendations around: developing cross-policy and cross-borough approaches to climate change; developing innovative funding mechanisms including ‘invest to save’ schemes; and giving careful attention to pro-environmental behaviour change.
 

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