Stimulating a Green Recovery – the first shoots
In Hounslow, we want to respond to the impacts of coronavirus in a bold and ambitious way. We want to use this as an opportunity to stimulate a strong and robust green recovery that accelerates our ambitions related to our Greener Borough Framework and Climate Emergency.
We know if we get this right, we can help support the wider recovery for Hounslow, particularly in terms of our economy which is predicted to be the second worst impacted London Borough.
We want to listen, learn, collaborate and innovate to bring forward the best possible green recovery programme for our communities and residents. To do this we are working with a range of academics, business leaders, partners and think tanks.
We want to put collaboration at the heart of developing our green recovery, recognising we can achieve more together than we can individually.
Ultimately, we want to be a vanguard for change for our residents and our communities.
Hounslow Green Recovery Board
To lead this we’ve created the Hounslow Green Recovery Board, which had its inaugural meeting on June 23 2020. No single organisation has the power, resources or capabilities to deliver the borough-level change for the green recovery we need, including the delivery of all the environmental, climate change and sustainability objectives.
The Green Recovery Board has been set up to enable and facilitate the work to discover, develop, plan, deliver and evolve, in partnership, a wide-ranging and reaching transformation programme, whilst also ensuring a sound basis for working alongside and with the range of diverse communities within Hounslow and beyond.
On it, we were fortunate to have some of the leading thinkers from across London who brought a fantastic range of ideas and a real enthusiasm for change.
The key themes from the Board are:
- To build upon our existing foundations related to our Greener Borough Framework, Climate Emergency Action Plan, and associated recovery programmes to amplify opportunities related to environment and ecology, green economy, climate management and green social and culture development.
- To build upon new, emerging themes in the green recovery space related to low carbon neighbourhoods, low carbon economy, green growth and 21st century mobility. It is this where we see significant opportunity to bring different people and organisations together to: discover, engage, innovate and deliver. See Figure 1.
Figure 1: Hounslow Green Recovery, Hounslow Council, June 2020. Created Stephenson & Lawson
- To use our collective thinking and ambition to accelerate the boroughs net-zero targets and environmental transformation.
- To facilitate new thinking that respond proactively to a post covid environment, with practical actions to support the recovery for Hounslow.
We have some emerging ideas from our initial discovery work and conversations.
- Identifying and creating a model for low carbon neighbourhoods that brings to reality the concept of a ’15-minute city’ and how this could be applied in Hounslow neighbourhoods and communities.
- Stimulating a low carbon economy and, in particular, how we develop emerging green sectors in Hounslow to support our residents in future employment, skills, upskilling and options for intervention. We want to explore the concept of ‘greening’ the aviation sector as part of this thinking.
- Building upon our Streetspace Programme that we develop a strategic approach to active travel that relates to low carbon neighbourhoods, emerging travel habits and changes in behaviours but how we cement this for 21st century.
- How we can maximise the benefits of our green infrastructure to support health and wellbeing and new jobs and skills creation including upskilling in the green economies.
- How we can come up with innovative green solutions and support the development of these for the benefit of our citizens and communities, codesigning solutions with our communities along the way whilst engaging our communities in co-design.
To aid our thinking we will set up an innovation hub (iHub), see Figure 2, supported by four innovation labs. These will form the spaces for us to collectively consider the opportunities and challenges from the pandemic and how we can build back with a strong green recovery at the heart of our actions.
Figure 2: Innovation Hub (iHub), Hounslow Council, June 2020. Created Stephenson & Lawson
The iHub will create the space to innovate and deliver practical actions. It will utilise the collective intelligence of different individuals, teams, organisations and provide a unique way of conversing with a range of stakeholders. This will become a dynamic space for idea exchange, creating space for intervention and engagement by our residents and communities, development of our evidence and intelligence leading to practical prototypes for action and delivery. We see it as an opportunity to enable new insights to be captured and formed, new ideas to be incubated and innovative solutions to be found and a proactive way to engage, converse and feedback on the actions that form.
This will be supported by four innovation labs (iLabs) focused on: low carbon neighbourhoods, low carbon economy, green growth and 21st century mobility. We have set out our current thinking and activities in this space and posed ourselves some significant questions and challenges that we must address as we move forward.
A great mix of minds
At today’s Green Recovery Board we started to frame our green recovery programme with a great mix of colleagues. The outcomes from the meeting will follow shortly.
The external participants who helped to cultivate this programme were:
Johan Woltjer, Professor at University of Westminster; Rick Moxon, Professor at Cranfield University; Rebecca Eligon from Collaborate CIC; Phil Horton from Vinci Concessions; Peter Day from WSP; Rob Whitehead from Centre for London; James Close from London Waste and Recycling Board; Kate Hand from London Councils; Emma Beal from West London Waste Authority; Dr David Greenfield from Circular Economy Club; Louise Crothall from Natural England; Andrew Dakers from West London Business; Steve Turner from ARUP.
A huge thank you for your time, energy and ideas. Looking forward to seeing you all again next month.
Thanks also to the Lead Members on the Board: Cllr Samia Chaudhary, Lead Member for Parks and Leisure (Chair); Cllr Katherine Dunne, Lead Member for Climate Change; Cllr Hanif Khan, Lead Member for Transport; Cllr Guy Lambert, Lead Member for Waste, Highways and the Companies.
The second board meeting, in July, will focus on action and the third board meeting, in August, will focus on programme delivery.
Victoria Lawson, Executive Director of Environment, Culture and Customer Services
Wayne Stephenson, Assistant Director for Environmental Services and Culture
London Borough of Hounslow, 23 June 2020.