Improving decision-making in smaller local authorities to facilitate net zero delivery - practitioner insights.

Gudde, Peter, Oakes, Justine, Cochrane, Peter, Caldwell, Nicholas and Bury, Nic (2022) Improving decision-making in smaller local authorities to facilitate net zero delivery - practitioner insights. In: International Conference for Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design for Society (SEEDS 2022), 31 August to 02 September 2022, Leeds, UK. (Unpublished)

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Local authorities in the UK face significant challenges to meet Net Zero targets since they are endeavouring to take on a diversity of roles including being investors in Renewable Energy (RE). They must work within defined legal, constitutional and democratic decision-making structures but without a unifying Central Government regulatory or policy mandate. Much of the research and evidence presented in the literature draws upon the experiences of larger urban local authorities in the single (Unitary) or upper tier of the two-tier structure where most investment will be needed to tackle Net Zero. This paper tries to provide a smaller local authority perspective to Net Zero, with specific attention on RE investment decision-making, drawing on 25 semi-structured interviews with local authority staff involved in Net Zero policy and delivery across the East of England. The research reveals insights highlighting the impact on how RE decisions are made because of political decision takers' understanding of the Climate Change and Net Zero, different staffing levels and functional approaches to managing Net Zero activity, and complex and timeconsuming decision-making processes recognizing the importance of upholding democratic principles of transparency and accountability. Some councils in the study
area have managed to streamline their decision-making processes by creating more effective and coherent investment and delivery mechanisms. Recommendations are made in the paper to help smaller local authorities improve their effectiveness at investment decision-making as part of RE delivery with wider implications for central government Net Zero policy and delivery at local level.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: local authorities, net zero, decision-making, renewable energy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Divisions: Faculty of Health & Science > Department of Science & Technology
Other Departments (Central units) > Estates
Depositing User: Nicholas Caldwell
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2022 15:49
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2022 15:49

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