The Localism Act 2011 and Public Service (Social Value) Act 2012 can contribute to environmental protection in the UK by enabling initiatives aimed at combating climate change and by engaging people in the debate about sustainable lifestyles. By highlighting the limited impact of previous governmental approaches and by drawing on research into the barriers preventing the adoption of sustainable behaviours, this article argues that a new approach under the aforementioned Acts is both possible and needed. Throughout the benefits of locally based carbon reduction schemes are highlighted alongside discussion of how provisions in both Acts could be used to facilitate the wider adoption of community energy initiatives and encourage the adoption of more sustainable behaviour at the neighbourhood level.
Recommendations for policy and practice are made, advocating greater partnership working between communities, environmental agencies and local government to make the shift from centrally imposed government carbon reduction schemes to locally based solutions. Such moves would go some way to engaging energy users as citizens, not just consumers, and empowering communities to alter their energy use behaviours. Whilst demonstrating the potential of locally based solutions this article also stresses the need for a continued role for central government, despite their localist stance, in driving the climate change agenda and in linking the implications of these Acts to environmental policy.
|Keywords:||Energy Policy, Sustainable Communities, Carbon Reduction, Localism|
Dean, School of Business and Law, University of East London, London, England, UK
Ph.D Researcher, School of Law, Kingston University London, London, England, UK