Green Reputation Policy Bid

Peterborough City Council is being invited to tie itself to a new policy that outlaws unsound or disreputable environmental practices. Hugh Cripps and Mick Leggett answer questions from Paul Stainton.

Broadcast at 07:25 on Wednesday 13th October 2010 in the Peterborough Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

PS: Peterborough’s bid to become the environment capital of the UK could take a major step forward tonight. Peterborough City Council want to introduce a new policy that would block any Council motion that could harm the city’s environmental reputation. The idea is being voted on this evening at a Full Council meeting. The idea comes from a network of bodies from around the city including the Council, Opportunity Peterborough, and the Greater Peterborough Partnership. Also backing the idea are Peterborough Environment City Trust and Peterborough’s Growth Partnership. I’m pleased to say we’ve got them all. Representing PECT is the Chief Executive Hugh Cripps, and from the Growth Partnership Mick Leggett, who’s also from Cross Keys Homes. Let’s speak to Mick first. Morning Mick.
ML: Good morning.
PS: Everybody’s on board. So anybody that comes up with anything that might involve burning a fossil fuel, no!
ML: Well I think what this has come from, certainly I think this is a Council issue this evening, but several years ago, and for many years, Growth Partnership and businesses in Peterborough are saying several things. First of all we wanted a university. We’ve got a university. Now we want a bigger one. But also we need a brand and a unique selling point for the city. And what better than the environment capital and our green credentials, in terms of promoting ourselves. It helps business attract the best people here, and gives us a focus for business, for other businesses to come here as well, and for our own businesses, and it just gives Peterborough a positive image that we can all push forward.
PS: It’s pie in the sky though, isn’t it? We can’t block things that can potentially harm the city’s environmental reputation. There are things we’re going to have to do, that we’ll do. We can’t say no to them, can we?
ML: Well I think if you look back, it was eighteen years ago that the city became an environmental city. And if you just think back then, anybody who talked green was considered a bit off the wall. You know, you had Prince Charles talking to flowers, and all those sorts of things. And his green credentials people laughed at eighteen years ago, look how the world has come on. Businesses have all got environmental strategies. We’re all doing everything we can to reduce our environmental footprint. This is just about moving that scenario and that strategy on for everybody, for the city, not just for business, but for the people who live here.
PS: Yeah. Hugh Cripps is from the Growth Partnership and Peterborough Environment City Trust. Good morning Hugh.
HC: Hello there Paul.
PS: I don’t want to pooh pooh this, because I think it’s a great idea.
HC: Yeah go on then. (LAUGHS)
PS: No seriously. If I want to go and build North Westgate, I’m going to have to burn a few fossil fuels to make some bricks. So I’m going to have to make some cement. What are you going to do? Pooh pooh that? Are you going to block that/
HC: No of course not. But obviously I think what we all want is quality in the city. And I think, to be truthful, we got that with Queensgate. we got a pretty good development there. But what we want to ensure is that anything that is built, and Peterborough is committed to growth, but we build it to the highest environmental standards. So yes, we might have to as you say burn a few fossil fuels to make the bricks, but what we want to ensure is that the way that shopping centre runs from now to the next fifty, hundred years, it runs very environmentally friendly, so it’s not just wasting energy. And while you’re on the story of shopping centres. And it’s really fascinating what Queensgate has been doing, the way they’ve actually really reduced the energy consumption over the last few years. If that had actually been built into the infrastructure as well, they could be even more energy efficient. So we want to see quality, and we want to see efficiency, and we want to see growth.
PS: Yeah. But is it fanciful to say that the Council could block any motion that could harm anything to do with the city’s environmenal reputation? It’s a little bit fanciful, isn’t it?
HC: Not at all. Because everybody wants an improved environment. And as I said, we are committed to growth at the same time. So what we don’t want to see is anything put in that’s just built to the minimum standards. We want to make sure .. you know .. the people of Peterborough deserve quality. Our children deserve a sustainable future. So it’s about doing the best for everybody and for the environment.
PS: Has any city ever tried this before?
HC: Some cities in Germany, and around the world, in Kuracheva (?) places like that, where there’s been a brave leader that’s stood up and said no we don’t want to take second best. We do want to try and achieve something. They’ve actually forced things through, and now they’re recognised as world best case examples.
PS: Mick, you’re chair of the Growth Partnership. To gow a city like this, it’s going to be difficult to stick to these principles, isn’t it?
ML: Well I think you have to have principles behind everything. There’s all sorts of changes that go on in the world. I’m sure your kids tell you about being greener, and all those sorts of things. And it’s easy for us older people to be cynical. But we’ve got to think of the future. And I think this gives Peterborough a step change in thought. It puts us ahead of the game from most other places, about how we should be thinking in the city. I’d like to throw a challenge to you Paul. You’ve got jingles about supporting the Posh. I know you’ve got to challenge us today, and you’re asking all these right questions, but let’s have jingles about Peterborough the environmental capital.
PS: Yeah. What have we done in the last ten years to make it the environment capital, do you think?
ML: Well you ask Hugh Cripps. But certainly Cross Keys, we’ve actually insulated lots of our properties, put in much more efficient boilers, we’ve reduced our carbon footprint in our properties by forty two per cent. So that’s driven by Government pressures, but also by the pressure from our tenants wanting more efficient properties, not just only financially, but they want to be greener as well.
PS: Hugh. What should I put in my jingles then? What green things shall I put in my jingles that we’ve done in the last ten years? I could do it now. If you say something, I’ll clip it and put it in a jingle.
HC: I think you need to be promoting the idea that we’re proud to actually be green. We’ve achieved a huge amount over the years.
PS: That’s not going to sell it. Come on. What have we done over the years? Come on, sell it, Hugh.
HC: The thing about Home of Environment Capital, something I keep on stressing to people, is it’s not really an accolade about how well we’ve done. It’s really really a challenge for the future. We have decided this is how we want to grow. Come to Peterborough. If you want to be green, you come to Peterborough. If you’ve got a green business, come to Peterborough.
PS: Yes but what have we done Hugh in the last ten years that I can put in a jingle? What green things can we be proud of?
HC: Well I mean we’ve got things like a fantastic green wheel cycle route around the city. We’ve got a fantastic amount of green open space which is very well managed. A huge number of local nature reserves. As Mick says, with the energy saving strategy we’ve insulated thousands and thousands of homes across the city, really cutting the energy. We’ve been a sustainable travel town so actually reduced the amount of people that actually drive their car, and we’ve increased cycling and bus usage. Ya-di-ya-di-ya-di-ya-di-ya. Go on and on and on.
PS: Well it’s a good stuff. I can stick that in jingles Hugh. That’s fine.

BBC Peterborough transmission breaks down at this point. Returns with news from Cambridge after a two minute silence.


Recent context:

We’re not environment capital
On what basis could the council possible claim this title? Peterborough has no iconic environmental building, it has no permanent park and ride service, its carbon footprint is very high (Peterborough is 260th best in the league), it has no wind turbines, it has no collections for nor facilities for treating food waste, it has no public buildings with solar panels, it has no organic food shops, its recycling record is poor (it is number 47 in the national recycling league), it has no environmentally friendly waste treatment facilities, it recycles none of its glass, it has no low carbon homes, it has no local companies who recycle green bin waste, its percentage use of sustainable transport is slipping, and its cycleways are poorly maintained and poorly used. Need I go on?
Richard Olive
Friends of the Earth
Peterborough Evening Telegraph
Published on Tue Oct 12 11:45:19 BST 2010