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President's Update

This blog page features updates from ADEPT's President, Mark Kemp.

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President update 4th July - latest news from ADEPT

There’s much to report on this month.

Firstly, there are a couple of opportunities that will be of interest to many of you.

Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund

The Forestry Commission is running in partnership with Defra, the £7.8m Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund, which ADEPT is supporting and promoting to all local authorities. Designed to support councils to employ, train up and bring on board professional expertise to drive tree planting and woodland creation commitments, the award is capped at £150,000. The deadline for applications is Friday, 8th July. As well as the details you can find on the ADEPT website, there is also a webinar recording, FAQs and you can contact the Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund team with any questions: [email protected].

Live Labs 2 and transport news

As you know, ADEPT was successful in its proposal to DfT to secure £30m of funding for Live Labs 2 focusing on decarbonising local roads. And now’s your chance to find out more about it. We have begun a series of workshops, both to outline the scope & challenge, but also to market test the approach ahead of the publication of the prospectus and Expression of Interest (EoI) form later this summer. The final workshops are in Glasgow on the 4th July, and two virtual seminars on the 6th July.

I have the privilege of sitting on the DfT’s Transport Research & Innovation Board. Now chaired by Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Sarah Sharples, there has been some restructuring. I am pleased to say that ADEPT is well represented on the Board and across all the new working groups – thank you to those who have volunteered.

Also undergoing some change is the UK Roads Liaison Group. Now rebranded as the UK Roads Leadership Group, that too is undergoing a review and restructuring of governance, roles and structure. The aim is to ensure the Group offers consistency of approach allowing for regional variations across knowledge sharing, knowledge transfer and guidance.

ADEPT is supporting Digital Roads for Local Roads, a new initiative with a range of highways partners who want to create a vision for a digital local roads network for 2030. I am delighted to be chairing this work. The group has set up a survey with more information available and would very much like to have local authority input. It takes about 15 minutes and your input will be hugely appreciated.

ADEPT working with government

Sticking with government departments, we recently had our quarterly meeting with DfT, who are particularly interested in the inflationary pressures we currently face, and the implications for service delivery. We are working with DfT colleagues on a survey – so watch this space. ADEPT also attended a recent Transport Whitehall roundtable event themed Why invest in Roads?

We have been meeting with DLUHC on the levelling up agenda and Sue Halliwell, 2nd Vice President attended the first meeting of the Local Net Zero Forum. The Forum was one of the commitments made in the Government’s Net Zero Strategy published in 2021 and is chaired by BEIS. ADEPT is clear that local authorities are taking action now with the biggest barrier they face being government funding uncertainty – too often finding is either competitive or too niche. We have also submitted a letter to BEIS as ADEPT’s Response to the Green Finance Strategy and also ADEPT’s response to Defra’s Environmental Targets consultation. ADEPT was invited to give evidence at the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill Public Bill Committee. Carolyn McKenzie represented us at the fourth sitting and there is a transcript available.

Other news

The case for funding certainty was one of the subjects under discussion at the recent joint Presidents meeting of the four professional associations (ADEPT, ADASS, ADCS and ADPH) and the LGA. We have established an ADEPT led working group to explore the synergies between the government’s levelling up agenda and wider people and place related policy. A soon to be completed literature view is already establishing cross-cutting themes and areas for case studies.

Our Climate Change blog this month describes a fascinating Lunch & Learn session from Stantec on the social impact of electric vehicle infrastructure as we transition to a multi-modal transport world.

As ever you can find out more about ADEPT’s latest news, publications and the work of our boards and groups on the website:


Mark Kemp, President of ADEPT

More posts

  • President update 1st April - latest news from ADEPT

    This is my first blog as new ADEPT President, so for people who don’t know me, I’m Mark Kemp, Executive Director of Environment and Transport at Hertfordshire County Council.

    Before I begin the latest ADEPT news, I just want to say thank you to our new Immediate Past President, Paula Hewitt for all the work, good humour and resourcefulness she brought to her Presidency. Paula will be staying on as part of the Leadership Team, so I look forward to her continued input and support.

    Read more >

  • President update: 29th April 2022

    As you may know, ADEPT recently had some fantastic news. The government announced the go-ahead for Live Labs 2 with £30m funding from the Department for Transport. The new expanded programme, Live Labs 2: Decarbonising Local Roads will run for three years and include projects from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Focused on the decarbonisation of transport infrastructure, we will take the same approach to applications using a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style, but with funding available to successful applicants to support both development and procurement stages.

    Read more >

  • President update: 1st April 2022

    After two long years of COVID-19, local authorities are again dealing with the multiple crises that are facing our communities and affecting our ability to deliver services. Amongst the Leadership Team, we have had long conversations about the impacts of rising fuel costs, the Homes for Ukraine scheme, the ongoing lack of school transport drivers, hyper-inflation driving up costs on delivery of council services, and most urgently, on local communities. 

    Read more >

  • President update: 28th February 2022

    While much of the world is rightly focused on the situation in Ukraine, closer to home we have come to the end of all formal Covid-19 restrictions. This is not the same as being the end of the pandemic, so we will all be discovering what living with coronavirus means. Of course, for local authorities, this also marks the end of Covid-related funding support, so many of our colleagues in public health will be focused now only on the most vulnerable in our communities.

    Read more >

  • President update: 1st February 2022

    Welcome to the first President update in 2022 – slightly later than usual and while Paula’s on leave, this time coming from our Chief Executive Officer, Hannah Bartram.

    Read more >

  • President update: 17th December 2021

    As we head into the Christmas break, the rapid spread of Omicron leaves many of us with a sense of weary familiarity. Fears of last minute changes to Christmas plans at home and impacts on services at work remind us of how much we continue to live with uncertainty.

    Read more >

  • President update: 29th November 2021

    This month, the focus has been very firmly on climate change (and not just the ADEPT Autumn Conference!), with widespread agreement that this is the ‘decade of action’ and we need to work together, urgently, to find solutions.

    COP26 had a varied response - many positive pledges and commitments were made, including the announcement to end deforestation, agreements to bring forward green innovation in agriculture, promoting more sustainable land management practices, and the focus on rewiring national and international finance systems for net zero. 

    Read more >

  • President update: 28th October 2021

    It feels like déjà vu, and not for the first time, that as Covid rates climb, the government is resisting calls to implement even the lightest of restrictions. Local authorities are once again in the position of seeing rates rise in their local areas, but without that vital national backing that brings weight to any precautions they might want to put in place.

    Read more >

  • President update: 30th September 2021

    The news is full of the effects of HGV driver shortages across the UK, something that many local authorities have felt for some time. Our waste services have been particularly hit by shortages, and as we look ahead to winter, we are all concerned with how gritting services and their essential role in safety and accident prevention might be impacted. Some authorities are also feeling the impact on passenger transport, particularly school bus provision.

    Read more >

  • President update: 15th September 2021

    As I write, the government has just published its Covid-19 response plan for the autumn and winter. Plan A focuses on encouraging further vaccine take up and booster doses for priority groups 1-9, introducing vaccines for 12-15 year olds and a renewed emphasis on test and trace and self-isolation for those testing positive. Plan B leaves the way open to a return to mask wearing in enclosed spaces, working from home and vaccine passports for larger gatherings should there be a surge in cases and increased pressure on the NHS.

    Read more >

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