Post-Covid Councils: Sustainable Futures



At the LGIU, we believe that ‘local’ has been the epicentre of coping with the Covid-19 crisis. From providing millions of meals, supporting communities and ensuring access to care for vulnerable people, councils have made almost unimaginable things happen. But, Covid-19 has thrown into sharp relief not only the importance of building place-based resilience but also the vast inequalities in that resilience that persist across the country.

Covid-19 has highlighted and exacerbated the inequalities between our communities and there is a looming danger that the potential for a good recovery will be just as unevenly distributed. Linked to this are the possibilities that the pandemic has raised for a more environmentally sustainable future – one that tackles climate change, transport, local food, circular economy, and inequalities of all types.

But the desire for some kind of ‘reset’ – where we rethink what we value and apply this new mindset to how we shape policy – butts up against the urgent calls on government at all levels to deal with the immediate problems of high unemployment and unavoidable recession. This is a once in a generation opportunity to make the real wish for change that has swept across communities an integral part of the recovery process, but it won’t be easy.

LGIU’s Sustainable Futures theme, as part of our Post-Covid Councils project, aims to highlight the practical and pressing opportunities open to local government and its partners in building a cleaner, greener, more sustainable and ultimately fairer future for all.

Topics we plan to cover range from energy reforms, transition towns, employment, tourism, wellbeing, place-shaping, resilience and much more. We will be working in collaboration with our members and others through briefings, blogs, case studies including international examples and events to develop a long-term strategic vision about how to best support a sustainable future for councils and the communities they serve.

Virtual policy round table event

As part of this work we are planning to host a series of virtual policy round table events. These events will offer the chance for members to discuss what they would like to see as part of this new theme and share experiences. The first event will take place on Wednesday the 5th of August, please register your interest here.


Post-Covid Councils: building a sustainable future

Kim Fellows, LGIU’s commissioning editor in Scotland, introduces pillar two of our Post-Covid Councils framework, looking at how we build a sustainable future for all. Read the blog here.

Doughnut Economics: a lifebelt for the planet?

This briefing examines the concept of ‘Doughnut Economics’ as an increasingly popular model around which to structure change at a local level. For local government, this model offers a guide to policy making that re-centres value by setting out the social and ecological parameters for decision-making while fostering collaboration and inter-departmental working. Read this briefing here.

Ecological public health: vital to reshape policy for good

The pandemic has reminded us all that the basic functioning of the economy, and the building blocks of a fair society, depend on the good health of all of our population. In this briefing, the interrelationship between health and the environment is discussed, alongside how local government can support a recovery that has positive future implications for public health. Read this briefing here.

Going even lower? What next for Low and Ultra Low Emission Zones and tackling air pollution in cities?

LEZs are aimed at improving air quality, protecting public health and supporting wider climate change ambitions. Work on introducing more LEZs in Scotland have resumed after Covid-19 delays, but they are not expected until 2022, and there are also delays to English Clean Air Zones (CAZs) planned for 2020 – in some being cities postponed indefinitely. Read this briefing here.

Renewing Ireland through meeting the challenge of climate change

Dr. Seán Ó’Riordáin discusses how the Irish government plans to face up to the challenges of climate change and Covid-19. This briefing addresses the economic response (highlighting Ireland’s Green New Deal), meeting the relevant costs of the programme and the implications for local government as key players in implementing it. Read this briefing here.

Sustainable Futures: Community wealth building

Now, in the recovery phase, there is an opportunity to implement alternative approaches to local economic development that prioritise the needs and wants of local people and communities over that of external shareholder profit. This briefing will be of interest to local authorities who want to take action to address the external leakage of locally generated wealth and in doing so help address socio-economic inequalities in their localities. Read this briefing here.

Community wealth building in North Ayrshire

Earlier this year, North Ayrshire Council launched its Community Wealth Building Strategy, becoming the first Council in Scotland to adopt this bold and radical economic approach. Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council, tells us how it works and how he hopes it can make a real difference to communities. Read this blog here.

A future worth retiring for? The case for divesting local government pensions

In this Swift Read we examine briefly the environmental, social and financial cases for local government divestment from fossil fuels, before looking at steps that councillors and officers can take to support a green shift in pension fund portfolios. Read this briefing here.

No ordinary commodity: the extraordinary damage caused by alcoholic beverages in Scotland

Reflecting on Scotland’s National Alcohol Framework, including minimum alcohol unit pricing, this briefing explores some of the main challenges to tackle alcohol-fuelled community impacts, including licensing and service provision. Read this briefing here.

Moving towards a sustainable economic recovery for Scotland

This briefing outlines the key recommendations recently made by the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery to Scottish Government. These recommendations are detailed in a recent report outlining the steps needed to safeguard a fair and sustainable economic recovery from Covid-19. Read this briefing here.

A ‘child’s rights’ approach: how one question can help councils plan fairer and healthier futures

Choosing policies that are coherent with child health and environmental sustainability, rather than accelerated ecological decline, is necessary for a sustainable and fair future. Embedding children’s rights in policy-making starts with one question: how do our policies affect young people’s life-chances now and in the future? Read this briefing.