Eight steps to becoming a greener council
Firstly, there needs to be political buy in at the highest level. This is about the Council leading on tackling one of the biggest public policy issues of our time; it requires political vision, commitment and leadership.
Secondly, you need to do an audit of the local area, what natural assets are at your disposal will depend which strands of renewables or energy efficiency measures are most appropriate.
Thirdly, you need to develop an all encompassing climate change strategy, which should spell out the Councils intentions for the next ten or twenty years. This should seek to balance energy efficiency and renewables, with the financial returns generated by the latter helping to fund work on the former.
Fourthly, get corporate management team buy in for this by making an economic case rather than an environmental one. This can be built around the economic cost of doing nothing and the financial, social, economic and environmental benefits of being proactive on this agenda. The green strategy must link with the mid to long term corporate financial strategy of the Council.
Fifthly, it is important that the Leader of the Council and Chief Executive communicate their commitment to this and announce their intentions in a vision statement.
Sixthly, get early win green projects by focusing on areas that are less complex and where visible benefits will emerge early. An example of this would be solar, once this has proven successful more complex projects such as wind will achieve a better hearing.
Seventhly, implement quickly once a direction has been agreed, rather than continuously over analysing, like any strategy success will breed success.
Finally, communication is key at every stage of this, a compelling case can be made for a greener council, the public deserve to be made aware of this and continually informed on progress.