Time to put the public back in public policy

Friday 21 November 2014
Green Alliance launches its new strategy [1] today with a major focus on  public involvement in policy decisions 

At a party in Central London yesterday to celebrate its 35th anniversary , attended by 400 senior  figures from politics, civil society and business, including Ed Miliband and Oliver Letwin, think tank Green Alliance launched its new strategy Creating a greener Britain. It also announced its new chair as Dame Fiona Reynolds, master of Emmanuel College Cambridge and former director general of the National Trust.  
Green Alliance’s strategy calls on all the parties to make policy making less technocratic and to allow the public more say in major infrastructure decisions.
No party has a plan to involve people effectively in plans to build major new energy, housing and transport schemes. Under the coalition these decisions are taken by a minister, with recommendations from the Planning Inspectorate.  And Labour has proposed a new National Infrastructure Commission of specialists, which would produce a 25 year infrastructure plan to be approved by government. 

Matthew Spencer, director of Green Alliance said:

“Good green policy makes Britain healthier and happier, but it will become more unstable and less investable if politics continues to lose public confidence. One way to stop the rot is to give the public a proper chance to participate in the debate about what we want from new infrastructure, and to do so at city and county level.  We need new public transport, sustainable housing and clean energy generation.  But these can’t be delivered by Whitehall alone. We have to put the public back into public policy and give more people a stake in the outcome.”

Commenting on becoming Green Alliance chair, Fiona Reynolds said

“I’ve always admired Green Alliance for its intelligent positioning of the environmental case, incredible contacts and ability to reach the decision-makers with persuasive and articulate arguments. I’m delighted to be taking over as chair of Green Alliance as it launches its ambitious new strategy to shape the next era of policy making”


[1] Creating a greener Britain, Green Alliance’s strategy 2015-18 commits the organisation to:
1.    Put the public back into public policy:  Green Alliance will champion greater public involvement in the big decisions about the future of the UK’s economy and its infrastructure. It will also make the case for the public to have a bigger stake in a greener economy by supporting greater local powers, and better access to the benefits of green infrastructure through a green ISA run by the Green Investment Bank. 
2.    Support the next generation of leaders:  setting up a Next Generation Council to allow new and young leaders to debate the key risks with decision makers from business, NGOs and politics
3.    Set up a natural environment programme: extending its policy research programme to help combat the failing health of natural systems and the decline of wildlife.

[2]  Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE is master of Emmanuel College Cambridge and former director general of the National Trust, she replaces Robin Bidwell, who is stepping down after six years in the role.

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