We are the UK Government’s independent adviser on sustainable development. Through advocacy, advice and
appraisal, we help put sustainable development at the heart of Government policy


The Future is Local: Empowering communities to improve their neighbourhoods

Classification:Sustainable Communities, Local Government
Document type:SDC Reports & Papers
Download:SDC_TFiL_report_w.pdf - 3846 KB
Summary:imageOur homes, offices and other physical structures of the built environment are responsible for approximately 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions. By upgrading – or retrofitting – our existing infrastructure through an integrated, neighbourhood-level approach, the SDC believes this impact can be reduced significantly, with additional benefits for:

• The environment, through better energy and resource efficiency
• Our society, through improved health and safety, and increased community cohesion
• The economy, through creating local jobs and retaining wealth in communities, and facilitating progress towards a low carbon economy.

This report advocates an integrated, area-based approach to retrofitting buildings and upgrading community infrastructure. Through our own research and with expert analysis by over 70 stakeholders, we conclude that significant energy efficiency and wider sustainability benefits, as well as public and private cost savings, can be delivered at the neighbourhood scale. To maximise opportunities and efficiencies we promote community leadership and partnership working.

The recommendations in this report are aimed at DECC, CLG, Defra and the Treasury, but the report will also be of interest to:

• Local Authority leaders & organisations
• Community groups
• Private investors, businesses & institutions
• Think tanks & NGOs

Key Findings

• Improving our existing places in an integrated, area-based approach will deliver energy efficiency and wider sustainability benefits
• The greatest benefits and efficiencies will be achieved through delivering these works at the neighbourhood scale; and through community leadership and partnership working between local authorities, community groups, infrastructure owners and other key stakeholders, including utility suppliers/generators, private businesses & investors
• Government support will be required, but significant cost savings to the public sector can be achieved.
• Public sector funding support may be most effective at the early scoping and development stages of projects, for example to underwrite projects.

» Welsh language version

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