While money, unfortunately, does not grow on trees, the financial benefits of protecting the environment are increasingly apparent.
APSE has promoted both action to tackle climate change and the vital role of direct service teams in local government for the past two decades and this publication offers a practical proposal for how both can be invigorated through opportunities offered by renewable energy. It describes how investment in renewables not only pays for itself, but can create a ‘revolving fund’ to reinvest in energy saving measures – meaning a virtuous circle is set in motion.
At a time of intense pressure on resources and cuts in local government jobs and services, the expanding green economy presents a rare opportunity for councils to set a positive agenda. APSE believes environmental and economic sustainability go hand in hand.
Local authorities will understandably be cautious about investing scarce funds during such austere times. But here APSE presents a sound case and viable business plan which shows how a return on that investment can be delivered. This publication argues that a direct approach ensures the rewards of environmentally friendly technology are captured locally and the economic benefit of investing in renewable energy is harnessed for local communities. The ‘DIY’ model set out here means staff can be recruited and redeployed, local supply chains stimulated and skills developed to benefit the local economy.
The approach described here offers a chance to create a ‘New Green Team’ of in-house employees in a range of roles working towards a sustainable future. It offers a chance for local authorities to embrace their community leadership role. While the arguments presented can apply to other forms of renewable energy, this publication shows in detail how a ‘virtuous green circle’ can be established by investing in photovoltaic solar panels.
As national chair, I am delighted that APSE is at the forefront of promoting and developing the green economy in local government. As an elected member and academic who has long championed environmental sustainability, I welcome this publication and the innovative model it embodies.
I urge local authorities to seriously consider the ideas it contains. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that future generations will thank us for taking.
A copy of the full report is available to download below: