Posted tagged ‘environment’

Are councils enviro-mental?

November 9, 2011

Ready or not, here it comes

We noticed that our good friends over at the Guardian Local Government Network are today running another in their series of excellent live web chats, this time on making councils greener. If you haven’t taken a look already, we suggest you head on over there.

This debate was brought to the fore in part thanks to a really good article by Faye Scott, which examined some of the threats and opportunities localism is presenting to the green agenda, we recommend you check it out.

This issue is one which has been troubling some of the WLLG crew recently. Before reading Faye’s article, we had been having similar conversations with coleagues about the way that the funding challenges facing local government are restricting the things we spend our money on, moving away from what we should be doing towards what we had to do.

To quote a couple of stats from the article:

• 37% of councils deprioritising climate change or state that it was never a priority

• 35% remain firm in their commitment to climate change and believe that action could even increase in the context of localism

• 28% are narrowing their ambitions to focus on reducing emissions from their estate and ceasing work on wider environmental issues.

The first of these stats is particularly shocking. Over a third of local authorities, having considered all of the implications, have decided doing their bit for the environment simply isn’t worth it. (more…)

Hiding behind Exaggeration

May 6, 2011

Is exaggeration hiding the debate?

Do you know what I hate more than anything in the whole world, that there is not a single thing in the world which I wouldn’t do to get rid of it?

Exaggeration.

Exaggeration is at the heart of many unnecessary arguments, and is the thing which skews correct and useful information into something which bears little or no relation to anything that can be used to formulate an informed and valid opinion. And when one person or group gets a reputation for exaggeration, it is assumed that most things they then say is exaggerated, which can in turn lessen its impact hugely.

This point came to mind when reading a recent press release from Unison, which you should be able to find amongst other places at the Lancashire Unison website. In it they bring up a number of duties which the government is aiming to scrap, and explore the possible levels of anarchy which would then be possible. A few of my personal favourites include:

Environmental Protection Act 1990, Section 89

Councils currently have to keep land and highways clear of litter. Would litter start to pile up on our streets?

Public Health Act 1936

Councils have to provide mortuaries. Would removing this duty see bodies pile up in the street?

Licensing Act 2003 Section 18

Requires local authorities to have a system for regulating premises licenses, including issuing licenses. Would we see strip clubs set up on any corner?

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