Only 28 per cent of local authorities have economic strategies to promote green economy and development

Growing the Green Economy is a key Government aim in the March 2011 Budget and Plan for Growth. But research by planning consultancy Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners (NLP) has found only 28% of local authorities have economic strategies in place to turn this national priority into local reality.

NLP has analysed local economic development plans and other economic policy documents produced by more than 300 English district councils.

It found that just 23 per cent of the authorities were seeking to promote the development of the so-called environmental goods and services (EGS) sector in their area in their plans. The EGS sector encompasses suppliers to the environmental, renewable energy and low-carbon industries.

The study says that only a relatively low proportion of English local authorities appear to be "actively taking measures to develop a sector that has been identified by the Government as one with strong economic growth potential".

Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners director Matthew Spry said that this was of particular concern because the regional development agencies (RDAs) - some of which promoted the EGS sector - are being abolished, and their replacements, the council and business-led local enterprise partnerships, have yet to properly crystallise their strategies

This is particularly important with the RDAs winding down, and before LEPs have fully crystallised their strategies. This situation may reflect the need for more clarity on the sector’s composition, and how best to promote it. NLP's research examines case studies where the sector has achieved growth, and draws out key actions that can help deliver this.

Senior Associate Director John Robertson commented

"Although there has been much analysis of the Green Economy, it is less clear what local authorities are actually doing to promote it. This report explores this and provides some practical guidelines to help shape the way forward."

Related stories