The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) has launched its key policy position on clean and green growth, saying we need to ‘build back green’ to both create jobs and build resilience, post Covid-19.
ADEPT represents local authority county, unitary and metropolitan strategic place directors across England with responsibility for the key place based services, including transport, environment, planning, economic development, housing and waste.
Its document states that to get the economy back on its feet post Covid-19, and thereafter, all economic growth must be resilient and green. It sets out the importance of clean growth to economic recovery, and says that pace and scale is critical to success.
The policy outlines that growth can protect and enhance the environment, and improve public health and wellbeing, while delivering economic benefits, innovation and new skills. It can cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the use of finite natural resources, support and enable the development of low/zero carbon technologies and industries, and promote a circular economy.
The policy position also highlights the importance of aligning finance to support this – public and private investment must incentivise and enable clean growth, while business cases must demonstrate the priority of clean growth and the contribution to cutting emissions.
New ADEPT president Nigel Riglar said: “Public behaviour has changed since the beginning of lockdown in many ways, and this provides a huge opportunity to accelerate and deliver the clean growth ambition.
“As place leaders, ADEPT members have a pivotal role in achieving clean and green growth through setting strategy and policy, commissioning and contracting. In addition, councils can reduce emissions in their own operations and influence emissions within the wider local area through their programmes, policies, procurement and supply chains.
“Local industrial strategies must also prioritise the shift to a low carbon economy and plan for the green skills needed to achieve this, while supporting an ambitious research and innovation agenda.
“Although we recognise it will take time for the economy to recover post Covid-19, clean growth must be at the heart of our work. With many local authorities declaring climate emergencies, the aim to be carbon neutral by 2030, and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November 2021, we need to keep pace to maintain progress.
“We are calling on the government to ensure clean growth is at the heart of recovery and renewal. The government must provide clear and ambitious national leadership, support and resource local actions. The low carbon and renewable energy economy is the fastest growing sector in the UK, and there is a huge opportunity around this, ensuring skills are maximised and developed.”