How to make the transition to low carbon work for UK cities

The report has set out five types of interventions that cities can and have used to maximise the economic advantages in pursuing the low carbon agenda:

  1. Supporting Business – City leaders are charged with creating an environment where all businesses can grow. This means improving networking opportunities so firms can learn from one another, building supply chains, local skills and growing the scale of the market to attract investment.
  2. Regulator – While UK cities have limited regulatory powers, councils can use land use planning, building regulations and licensing to target the largest local emitters. They can also negotiate with Government to remove red tape that hinders green growth and implement national government policy.
  3. Incentiviser – Using positive and negative incentives to influence carbon-emitting and polluting behaviours and actions are increasingly important, particularly in a finance-scarce context. Incentives are most successful when supported by complementary measures.
  4. Procurer– Cities are attractive markets for low carbon goods and services. Councils can use targeted procurement strategies to support new and innovative products and supply underlying infrastructure for low carbon projects.
  5. Financer – With reduced funding, new models of sharing risk and rewards can help green projects get off the ground. Cities need to explore how to harness the power of community groups and use co-investment models to leverage private sector capital.

The indicative case studies highlighted in the report offer different but complementary ways for cities to approach low carbon growth. To exploit the opportunities effectively requires: clear long term strategies championed through strong leadership; Effective networks between public, private and third sector organisations to enable opportunities to be innovated and shared; and, underpinning this, detailed knowledge about the city’s business structure and emissions breakdown so that local resources can be effectively targeted at the most important issues.