ADEPT has called on ministers to ensure that clean growth is at the heart of post COVID-19 recovery and renewal.
The council directors body has launched its policy position on clean and green growth, arguing that in the aftermath of the pandemic the country needs to ‘build back green’, to both create jobs and build resilience.
Cows graze in front of wind turbines in Cornwall
The document states that to get the economy back on its feet, all economic growth must be ‘resilient and green’. It sets out what ADEPT sees as the importance of clean growth to economic recovery and says that pace and scale are critical to success.
New ADEPT president Nigel Riglar said changes in public behaviour since the beginning of lockdown provide ‘a huge opportunity’ to accelerate and deliver the clean growth ambition.
He said: ‘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.’
Mr Riglar added: ‘Although we recognise it will take time for the economy to recover, 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 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.’
ADEPT said the paper also highlights the importance of aligning finance to support this, arguing that 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.