May 29th, 2015

Pickles’ parting shot

by Joe Papineschi and Gwen Frost

 

We suspect that the departure of Eric Pickles from the role of Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government will not be widely mourned amongst council officials. His replacement, Greg Clark, had a previous stint as minister of state in the department between 2010 and 2012, and subsequently held the cities brief. While it may be too early to pronounce with confidence that a major change of approach is in the air, Clark is a strong advocate of decentralisation of power, and might reinvigorate the localism agenda that fell by the wayside as Pickles increasingly sought to bend councils to his will.

Read more on Pickles’ parting shot…


May 5th, 2015

Giving Greens the blues? The Conservative manifesto

by Martine Kurth

 

You can tell a lot about what matters to a party from what its manifesto addresses first and in most depth. The Conservative manifesto for the 2015 General Election focuses on giving a fairer deal to much-mentioned ‘hard working families’. The NHS, childcare, home-ownership, tax, welfare, and pensions feature strongly. The environment gets two pages, with a further two on energy and climate change, starting from p54 of the 80 page document.

Read more on Giving Greens the blues? The Conservative manifesto…


April 17th, 2015

Twisting in the wind

by Laurence Elliott

 

As the May election draws nearer, the UK wind industry waits to see what effect the new government will have on the development of onshore wind. Back in December 2014, David Cameron told the Commons Liaison Committee of senior MPs that the Conservatives would not subsidise any new onshore turbines if they were to win the general election, claiming that the public are “frankly fed up with so many wind farms being built that won’t be necessary”.

Read more on Twisting in the wind…


February 20th, 2015

Pickles, politics and power

by Peter Jones

 

“If you want to get anywhere in politics, you’ve got to be good at pushing on open doors. If you can’t resist pushing on closed ones, then you ought to have chosen another job.” That rather bleak assessment of the extent of ministerial power comes from C.P. Snow’s novel Corridors of Power, in which the lead characters try (and fail) to tip the balance against 1950s Britain seeking an independent nuclear deterrent.

Read more on Pickles, politics and power…


January 30th, 2015

Better out than in?

by Hulda Espolin Norstein

 

If the UK was to leave the European Union, what difference would it really make to our environmental laws?

UKIP’s increased influence on the political agenda and David Cameron’s eurosceptic-appeasing promise to hold an in/out referendum has rapidly turned the UK’s exit from a pipe-dream to a real possibility. Both sides of the debate are spending considerable time and effort informing the public (and each other) about why the UK should remain in/leave the EU; how obvious it is that continued EU membership is essential/detrimental to turning the economy around; how crucial/unnecessary it is to our geopolitical influence – in fact, how the EU is the solution to/cause of most of the UK’s problems.

Read more on Better out than in?…


October 21st, 2014

Risk and reward: is it worth bidding for DCLG’s Recycling Reward Scheme?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

by Clare Pitts-Tucker

 

Eric Pickles is making something of a habit of conjuring up pots of money to promote his pet policy proposals. Undeterred by the experience of the £250m Weekly Collection Support Scheme (WCSS), which proved quite an expensive way to persuade one authority to revert to weekly collections, he has now established a £5m Recycling Reward Scheme (RRS) fund that gives councils the chance to bid for resources to set up local recycling incentive schemes.

Read more on Risk and reward: is it worth bidding for DCLG’s Recycling Reward Scheme?…


September 19th, 2014

Blowin’ in the wind: the role of wind in UK energy policy

by Chloe Bines

 

This summer has seen record generation from wind energy, with the UK’s wind turbines delivering more energy than our declining coal plants on several days and even managing to outstrip nuclear on 29th August.

Read more on Blowin’ in the wind: the role of wind in UK energy policy…