Local Green New Deals: a sustainable and equitable path for post Covid-19 recovery

In addressing the climate emergency and economic consequences of the covid-19 pandemic, there is an urgent need for local authorities in the UK to implement ‘Green New Deals’ which effectively combine carbon Net Zero targets with community-focussed economic recovery. Research by the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions has shown the potential for reducing energy demand and CO2 emissions while maintaining or improving quality of life, but there is less understanding of how to translate this into effective policy. This project will build on existing local green recovery plans in exploring their potential for community wealth-building.


Led by Professor Tim Foxon, the project aims to develop over a 21-month period the tools for local and regional policymakers in the UK to assess green recovery plans in terms of wider economic, social and environmental goals valued by local citizens. The focus of the research will be on local and regional authorities, specifically in city-regions with green recovery plans for achieving Net Zero carbon emissions and post-pandemic economic recovery.

Examining Greater Brighton and North of Tyne regions, the project will explore the broader social values underpinning local plans for achieving economic recovery and carbon emissions reduction. In developing sets of metrics and criteria for assessing these policies, researchers will survey the values and priorities of the local population around reducing energy demand in their community. Measures proposed would include investment in energy-efficient home retrofits, improvement of urban infrastructure (e.g. green spaces, cycle lanes, public transport, broadband, electrical vehicle charging), schemes promoting the sharing, reuse and recycling of local resources, as well as increased local food production.

This research will inform a wider case for targeted public investment for socially-inclusive economic growth and energy demand reduction at the local and regional level, as well as reflections on the implications for national policy. It will build on CREDS’ existing links and impact with UK local government.

Research Approach

-Review of the common ground shared by existing local economic stimulus and carbon reduction plans. This will enable the framing of both within a more coherent system of social values.

-Surveys and focus groups of the local populations’ social, economic and environmental values to develop sets of community-focussed metrics and criteria for Greater Brighton and North of Tyne.

-Interviews and workshops with local stakeholders to test community-focussed metrics.

-Interactive work with authorities to develop locally and regionally-tailored research and means for assessing green recovery policies in terms of local community-focussed priorities.

Impact and Outreach

Building on CREDS’ connections with local government across the UK, the project will produce policy reports tailored to the Covid recovery and Net Zero-related investment decisions of Greater Brighton and North of Tyne city regions. These reports will be the basis of a joint report with the New Economics Foundation (NEF), already engaged with several local and regional authorities on post-pandemic Green New Deals, accessible for use by other authorities.

The project will engage local council stakeholders, local businesses and citizens in the review of existing policies, and the tailoring and testing of research findings for policymakers in the local and regional context. The team will collaborate with NEF consultants, allowing both to draw on and enhance mutual social value metrics research as well as Green New Deal work across the UK.

Further Information

The project team will include Tim Foxon, Donal Brown, Marie-Claire Brisbois, Claire Copeland, Max Lacey-Barnacle and Giulia Mininni. The team will be collaborating with Greater Brighton and North of Tyne city region stakeholders, as well as NEF consultants Christian Jaccarini and Emmet Kiberd. Funding for the project is provided by the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS).