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President update: 1st July

1 July 2020

The Prime Minister’s much trailed announcement of a New Deal wasn’t the once-in-a-generation, green and clean recovery many had hoped for. Some of the funding had been announced before, just with a speeding up of delivery timescales, but investment in broadband and cycleways is welcome. ADEPT would like to see more ambitious thinking from government. A commitment to make all state-funded schools net carbon neutral by 2030 and investment in retrofitting existing housing stock to improve energy efficiency would both support the development of jobs, skills and start-ups in the low carbon economy. 

The Government focus has shifted from coronavirus response to recovery. This week’s lockdown in Leicester/Leicestershire illustrates how councils will become responsible for managing the response to local outbreaks through local outbreak management boards. There is a critical role for place here to help support our colleagues in public health who will be under tremendous pressure. I attend the national local outbreak management board and help provide input on how place interventions can help create an environment that supports the delivery of local outbreak management plans, for example through short-term interventions in the management of public space or understanding the impacts that outbreak management interventions will have on the operation and recovery of local communities and economies. We are hoping to take forward some work on this with ADPH. 

The Sustainable Growth Board is hosting a workshop on 8th July to discuss the role of planning in delivering clean growth and Covid-19 recovery and renewal. We know that government attention is turning to the planning system, with the white paper due out this month amid strong indications it wants radical reform. We want to scope out key themes and ensure ADEPT’s messaging and the need for proper resourcing will be clearly heard in the conversations to come. 

We’ve had feedback from BEIS that they would like to discuss the zero carbon and economic restart Live Lab proposal that we put forward, which is great news. And thanks to those member authorities who have expressed an interest in getting involved. We’ll keep you updated with progress. The Economic Recovery & Renewal Task Force has also been continuing its work with EY and I’d like to remind everyone that they have offered to provide members with a summary of recovery data specific to a local area, along with a conversation about the key considerations emerging from the analysis. There is still time to take up the free offer, so please contact Hannah if interested. ([email protected]). 

Members of the Leadership Team have been working with the National Audit Office on their report into delivery of net zero and environmental goals. We continue our work with DfT and the Highways Sector Council, and we are looking at the implications for local highways authorities of the increased use of e-scooters and emerging concerns about safety on roads and pavements. We are also working with the DfT/DfE working group on Home to School Transport. Building on the publication of the ADEPT/Amey Green Finance Toolkit, we approached the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and are talking with them about our climate change work and opportunities for collaboration.

The results of the 12th waste impacts survey for w/c 22nd June has been published with most councils reporting back a stable level of services. HWRCs are open across all responding authorities, but with many reporting disruption due to social distancing requirements. There is still a high level of disruption to commercial waste collections. Thanks again to everyone who has responded to both of these surveys. 

One thing to note – the National Recovery and Devolution White Paper is currently earmarked for publication in early Autumn.

Finally take a look at this month’s Live Labs blog to find out how our teams have been managing during lockdown and keep an eye on our COVID-19 updates page, for latest news.