Last year I wrote a blog outlining the Nottingham/Derby (or should that be Derby/Nottingham?) metro strategy. Following a consultation, a strategy with 4 key themes -Metro Enterprise, Metro Talent, Connected Metro and Metro Living – has been drafted and recognises that ” … if we are to fully achieve the ambitions set out within the strategy, a wider group of stakeholders will need to work together – many of these have indicated a commitment to be involved through the consultation, and key relationships are being strengthened.”
Nottingham City Council identified that “Developing a joint Metro Strategy with Derby can improve the opportunities for local people by helping to bring more investment and jobs to the area … and … with 40,000 people regularly travelling between the two cities, transport is clearly one area we’re keen to focus on. Developing more integrated links and realising the full potential of the planned HS2 station at Toton will be a key element of the strategy.”
One of the early measures will allow residents of both Derby and Nottingham to share services – such as leisure facilities and libraries – using a ‘Metro card’. The card will mean people in Nottingham could use facilities such as the £27 million Derby Arena velodrome and also get discounts in shops in both cities. But, it’s not going to be launched for a year or so …
The announcement comes as the cities launch their ‘Metro Strategy’, which will involve working together, including possibly combining backroom IT services between the city councils.
Collaboration and co-operation is borne out of both necessity and opportunity. ‘Austerity’ measures mean that doing things once and in the interests of both parties can mean reduced costs and economies of scale. Taking unnecessary costs out of the investments needed to make both cities more attractive, investment-ready as well as providing the basic services citizens need can only be a good thing.
The bigger picture, of course, is that the Metro Strategy provides a shared vision for the opportunities, quality of life and sustainability of both cities and their hinterland. Compared to global cities (and even Birmingham) the combined might of Nottingham and Derby is still relatively small but they can be nimble, agile and reinvent themselves as cities of the 21st Century together rather than competing for the same limited resources out there.
The world of renewable energy continues to get caught in the tossing and turning of government policy and in order to create this rapid growth ‘the community energy sector will need to adapt to new forms of funding and engage proactively with the energy market and traditional energy sector partners, whilst still holding true to the core principles that define community action,’ says Emma Bridge, CEO of Community Energy England in my latest piece for the Environment Journal.
Steel might be the largest industrial carbon dioxide emitter, but Britain’s troubled industry could be a big part of a cleaner, greener future. By using steel to build new infrastructure for renewable energy, the UK could create a virtuous circle of improvement for its industry and growth. Gavin Harper makes a compelling case for an industrial strategy the forges the relationship between steel and 9 low carbon interventions in renewable energy generation, transport and heat re-use. Great to see the example of Forgemasters linked to the E.ON district heating network – a project I was closely involved in in Sheffield.
Too often politicians are unable to join the dots between the needs of society and the resources at our disposal. With the right policies and commitment this could work. Couldn’t it?
Source: Nine ways steel could build a greener economy