Continued growth of the low-carbon economy during the recent economic downturn has driven increased focus on the role of this sector in re-establishing the dynamism of the UK economy. At the same time, local economic governance has undergone a rapid phase of reorganisation with the development of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). This article examines the approach of LEPs to the low-carbon economy, drawing on documentary analysis and interviews with LEPs and other local economic development actors. It reviews the extent to which LEPs are prioritising low-carbon growth and concludes that, whilst some areas are embedding green growth, progress is highly variable due to uncertainties regarding the national decarbonisation agenda and the lack of an explicit requirement from Government. A lack of consensus regarding what constitutes green growth and a focus by LEPs on large-scale low-carbon projects may be limiting progress in areas, such as energy efficiency, that may deliver multiple economic, environmental and social objectives. Conflicting themes of centralisation and decentralisation are also evident in the low-carbon policy landscape, highlighting a need for greater dialogue between the central and local scale to explore the diversity of local low-carbon economy pathways.
- green growth
- Local Enterprise Partnerships
- low-carbon economy