West Midlands Praised for Its Efforts to Fight Climate Change; ENVIRONMENT

The Birmingham Post (England), August 13, 2008 | Go to article overview

West Midlands Praised for Its Efforts to Fight Climate Change; ENVIRONMENT


Byline: By Steve Pain Acting Business Editor

An independent report sponsored by BT has praised the West Midlands for its commitment to tackling climate change - but it also calls for a more "joined up" approach between the UK's regions and countries.

The report, which examined the sustainable development strategies of every English region, Scotland and Wales, recommends better sharing of best practice and for "more crossing of regional boundaries" by successful initiatives.

Despite the growing importance of sustainable development in national politics, there is "little consistency in the way it is addressed".

It says communication between regions could be improved by initiatives such as an online directory of sustainable development case studies, policies and practices, and an annual UK-wide conference or roundtable.

"There is a real need to improve the way in which the experience gained from these initiatives is shared and used to stimulate further good practice," states the report by the UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development. "It is important that there should be the opportunity for joining up initiatives across regional boundaries to integrate good practice."

This would "help these better examples become more prevalent UK-wide."

The authors were particularly impressed by the priority given to climate change in the regional economic strategies (RESs) of the West Midlands, as well as the introduction of the first regional index of sustainable economic wellbeing by the East Midlands region and subsequent adoption by the West Midlands.

The report commends the way the West Midlands has continued to devote "signi=cant resource to the development of Information Communication Technology strategies and actions at a time when others have scaled back".

Nationally, the report says ICT is "being surprisingly overlooked as a key enabler for sustainable development and should be re-assigned a higher priority" and better integrated with policies in areas, such as transport and energy.

"ICT has fallen significantly down the agenda of more recent strategies, largely as a result of the success of regional campaigns to promote access to broadband services.

here is some interest in the role of ICT in reducing the need to travel, although only a few strategies make a clear link between ICT and sustainable development. …

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