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  • High streets across the country risk becoming ‘ghost towns’, LGA, February 28 [1] 85% of councils are reporting an increase in empty properties in town centres. The LGA is calling for new powers to allow town halls to transform empty shops on a temporary basis during the recession. Shops that are currently standing empty could be used as training centres, libraries, bring-and-buy sales or youth clubs. The new powers would be a temporary measure for councils to use only during the recession. topic, topic
  • Eco towns public consultation deadline extended, to Thursday 30 April, February 26 [2] There are currently eleven locations on the eco-towns shortlist: - Rackheath, Greater Norwich; Middle Quinton, Warwickshire; Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire; Ford, West Sussex; Bordon-Whitehill, Hampshire; St Austell (China Clay Community), Cornwall; Rossington, South Yorkshire; North East Elsenham, Essex; Pennbury, Leicestershire; Weston Otmoor, Oxfordshire; - North West Bicester (Cherwell) - an alternative to Weston Otmoor. The developers promoting Marston Vale in Bedfordshire withdrew from the eco-towns process earlier in February.
  • In-depth assessment delivers verdict on Government’s promise of a more equal society, February 25 2009 [3] Commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the study, by a team led by LSE’s Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, shows sharp contrasts between different policy areas. Notable success stories include reductions in child and pensioner poverty, improved education outcomes for the poorest children and schools, and narrowing economic and other divides between deprived and other areas. But health inequalities continued to widen, gaps in incomes between the very top and very bottom grew, and poverty increased for working-age people without children. In several policy areas there was a marked contrast between the first half of the New Labour period and the second half, when progress has slowed or even stalled. topic
  • Fairtrade olive oil offers economic lifeline for Palestinian farmers, February 22 [4] topic
  • UK civil society larger employer than banking and accountancy sectors, February 19 [5] topic
  • By comparison with some other European countries Britain’s railways are generally more expensive, especially in London and the South East, February 19 [6] topic
  • 1,000 new allotment plots will be created on National Trust land in the next three years to give local communities the space to grow their own fruit and vegetables. February 2009 [7]The initiative comes as demand for growing spaces is at an all time high - with more than 100,000 people currently on allotment waiting lists – as people look to spend more time with friends or family, exercising in the outdoor ‘gym’ and enjoying the fresh food they can produce. Each of the new growing spaces will be created on communities’ doorsteps throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and will be registered through the new Landshare website set up by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to ‘match-make’ between keen growers and available land. topic
  • Ex-strawdinary. All women building firm gets contract for UK's first straw council houses, February 13 [8] For the first time in a UK government funded project, Straw council houses (local government housing) are being built in Lincolnshire to cut costs and energy consumption. The six three-bed semis in the village of Martin will each be made of 500 bales and cost GBP60,000 ($87,000). ‘It is the first time this has been tried in the UK,’ says North Kesteven District Council’s Tory leader, Marion Brighton. topic, place
  • Excessive packaging still costing shoppers, February 17 [9] Excessive food packaging used by supermarkets is undermining householders’ efforts to recycle more and is adding to council tax bills, say the Local Government Association. The LGA is calling on the government to make retailers responsible for funding the collection of packaging so they have a direct incentive to produce less. topic
  • 'Big Energy Shift' consultation contains 3 "invitation only" events, yet prefaced with "We intend these to be... open consultation processes..." February 12 [10] topic
  • New council assessment regime, (Comprehensive Area Assessment, or CAA, to be introduced from 1 April 2009), will "evaluate the effectiveness of local involvement in setting priorities and taking action, and the opinions of local people on their area and local services. And people will be able to check the performance of their own and neighbouring councils and other local services." February 10 [11]
  • Over half of schools in England have achieved Eco School status, February 9 [12]
  • Half Britain’s homes could be heated by renewable gas, says National Grid, February 2 [13] topic

News UK 2009 - Dec - Nov - Oct - Sep - Aug - Jul - Jun - May - Apr - Mar - Feb - Jan

2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005


  1. Local Government Association, February 28 2009
  2. Communities and Local Government, February 26
  3. Joseph Rowntree Foundation, February 25 2009
  4. Department for International Development, February 22
  5. National Council for Voluntary Organisations, February 19
  6. Passenger Focus, February 19
  7. National Trust, February 2009
  8., February 13
  9. Local Government Association, February 17
  10. Department of Energy and Climate Change, February 12
  11. Communities and Local Government, February 10
  12. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, February 9
  13. National Grid, February 2

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