Monday, 3 June 2013

The Knowledge

Stimulating, informed, helpful reports from the Distict Council, which do not shy away from difficult issues. This is from the most recent from 31st May 2013: 

In the press
 Grass verge wildlife ‘destroyed by councils’
Councils in the UK are destroying wildlife habitats by cutting grass verges too often. That is the warning from wildlife charity Plantlife who said verges support hundreds of species of flowering plants and should be cut twice a year. But the LGA said keeping verges shorter was safer for both drivers and pedestrians. Cllr Mike Jones, Chair of the LGA’s
Environment and Housing Board, said: “Keeping road verges well maintained ensures that motorists have a good line of sight and allows pedestrians to walk more safely alongside busy roads. It also prevents weeds and foreign species from spreading into private gardens.”

 High Street planning changes criticised by councils
The revised planning rules that have come into force in England could lead to new “clusters” of betting shops and money lenders, according to local councils. The LGA warned the Government’s attempt to boost economic growth and revive high streets could cause “lasting damage” to town centres. The changes will allow shops to switch use without planning permission for the next two years. Cllr Mike Jones, Chair of the LGA’s Environment and Housing Board, said: “We have been clear that if we are to get people back out shopping in their local town centres we need to give them more say on what type of businesses and shops open there. Instead from today they will have less. This blanket national policy will make it easier than ever for High Streets to become ghettos for clusters of 'here today, gone tomorrow' money lenders and betting shops." Cllr Jones appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live and LGA Chairman Sir Merrick Cockell on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to discuss the issue.

Ø  Tree Walk at Membury
Monday 3 June, 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Learn about the trees of Membury with the EDDC Tree Officers.
Free event, but booking required; call the Countryside team on 01395 517557 or email Countryside@eastdevon.gov.uk

A full programme of events at:
Heath at Woodbury Common

And this is from February 2011: www.eastdevon.gov.uk/the_knowledge_040211_issue_36.pdf

LG Knowledge
Ø  Environmental sustainability: compare renewables
As of August 2010, local authorities can sell electricity to the national grid. This has created opportunities for councils to generate sustainable energy, cut energy costs, lower residents' fuel bills, create local jobs and reduce carbon emissions. Access a new online resource from LG Improvement and Development that is designed to help you decide which renewable energy technologies are appropriate for your area. It includes information on how they work, costs, timescales and local authority case studies.

Ø  Going green – a radical approach to local leadership
The German city of Freiburg is one of Europe's fastest growing. It is also one of the continent's leading eco-cities. Read an article by Professor Robin Hambleton that shares the key lessons of how Freiburg has successfully tackled climate change. Find out how it has built a community that is both energetic and innovative in its green activism.

Next Localism
Ø  Next Localism: Five trends for the future of local government
New Local Government Network (NLGN) is an independent think tank that seeks to transform public services, revitalise local political leadership and empower local communities. This report is part of its programme of research and innovative policy projects, which it hopes will be of use to policy makers and practitioners.
Local government stands on the verge of immense change. Financially, the picture is grim, as local public services face cuts on a scale not seen since the 1920s. By 2015, council-owned leisure centres, museums and theatres could be a distant memory, refuse collection will probably be cut to the bone and even social care and education will start feeling pinched. But for all the bleakness of the economic situation, there is also an opportunity for local government. The new localism that NLGN has championed for the past decade aimed to convince ministers to devolve more power to councils. Now that case has been successfully made, localists need to reassess their agenda. This report aims to kickstart that process.

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