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In the first of a special series on environmental localism, Sarah-Jane Denton, consultant in the environment and climate change team at Simmons & Simmons LLP, examines the rise in environmental localism and discusses some of the recent trends.
This Analysis was originally published on Lexis®PSL Environment. Discover how Lexis®PSL
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‘Localism’ is a move away from centralised government in favour of greater powers and decision making for local authorities, with the perceived benefit that communities and local people will be more involved and invested in issues which directly
affect them, including policy and decision-making. The Localism Act 2011 (LA 2011) was passed with the stated aim of removing bureaucracy and the influence of central government. Environmental localism, by extension, represents a move towards environmental
policies designed at a local level, to address local manifestations of national or international environmental challenges. The term can be used to describe a wide spectrum of environmental initiatives, from the achievement of national emission targets
via the promotion of community energy programmes, to controls aimed at improving areas prone to flooding. Localism also encompasses small scale town or city-specific measures such as cycling incentive schemes which represent, individually, small changes
but, in sum and over time, make a positive contribution to the achievement of environmental objectives.
In the face of a central government with limited capacity in all areas at present, local governments are not waiting for central government to take the lead
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