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Exploring Low Carbon Reduction in Communities: New Localism and the tensions between Communities of Place and Interest

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Rob WilsonORCiD, Professor Mike Martin, Antonia Moran, Christopher Ford, Dr Ruth MachenORCiD


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Lowering carbon emissions is national priority of the UK government. Clearly a major challenge is to mobilise individual and community action to meet this agenda. Recognising this one of the key policies of the previous and current government is the Low Carbon Framework programme. At the same time the government is embarking on a series of changes in legislation intended to promote a 'New Localism'. The aim is to deliver greater freedoms and control, such as decision-making on planning, through locality bodies (such as 'neighbourhood forums') rather than directly democratically accountable bodies such as local authorities. The first phase of the Low Carbon Framework programme is under way through a series of National Beacon sites. The authors are working together on series of projects in Northumberland, UK seeking to promote and explore the reduction of carbon from two perspectives protected historic and natural environments and community leadership. Many of the drives and concerns that arise around implementing low carbon approaches are influenced by local communities. These drives and concerns can clash around issues of place and interest: for innovative approaches to carbon reduction being promoted by communities of interest run into problems because of tensions with the desire to protect particular features of a place or landscape. This can lead to tensions within communities as different groups highlight different priorities. The aim of the paper is to present the work in progress and a means to explore what the key dynamics of social change might be with a view to thinking about what might offer routes to co-productive activity between such communities.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wilson R, Martin M, Moran A, Ford C, Machen R, Maiden T

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 6th International Conference on Environmental Future

Year of Conference: 2011