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What’s Onward This Week

There aren’t many policy ideas that cost the government almost nothing, unlock investment for vulnerable communities and ensure crucial infrastructure is built. This week Onward has proposed one of them: mandating community benefits programmes for renewable energy projects and grid infrastructure.

Our new research has shown that building the turbines and power lines necessary to improve our energy security is entirely possible, if the Government ensures local communities can see practical benefits on the ground. The net zero naysayers are wrong – we can improve our energy security, decarbonise, and reduce household bills at the same time. The Government should act fast to turn eco-NIMBYs into YIMBYs.

✍️ Research

Earlier this week, we published Power to the People. Our new report finds that 57% of rural voters would support an onshore wind farm in their local area. This increases to 80% when onshore renewable energy projects come with community benefits. The current provision of community benefits is haphazard and will not be enough to deliver the scale of infrastructure needed to increase energy security, reduce energy prices, and reach the UK’s net zero targets.

We recommend a new ‘Green Energy Covenant’ to ensure projects are tied directly to local investment and give communities power to decide what community benefits are invested in. Only with this consent can we pursue ambitious renewable energy infrastructure projects and unlock £3.7 billion in investment for rural communities. 

You can read the full report here.

📰 Media Mentions

Our newest report, Power to the People, was covered in The Telegraph, The Independent, The Evening Standard, Yorkshire Post, and Business Green

Head of Energy and Climate, Jack Richardson, wrote about why local communities deserve to benefit directly from green infrastructure in The Times. Senior Researcher, Ned Hammond, also wrote for Conservative Home on why we need to overcome opposition to new grid infrastructure. 

Deputy Director, Adam Hawksbee, wrote for City AM on why we need a new focus on progress. 

Onward’s paper A Question of Degree, was featured in a HEPI article regarding the Government’s new higher education reform announcements.

🌐 Onward Online

We were delighted to host a keynote address by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Lucy Frazer KC MP, on unlocking the potential of young people this week. You can catch up on the highlights on our Tweet thread or watch the address back here.

We also hosted a panel discussing how to boost engineering and manufacturing capacity to support levelling up. You can catch up on the Tweet thread or watch the discussion back here

Anastasia Bektimirova, Researcher in our Science and Tech team, put together a thread on the UK leading the first UNSC briefing on AI. 

🐥 Tweet of the week

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