Groups of cities should form 'infrastructure investment boards' to accelerate delivery of large sustainable projects, according to a new report.
The report's authors also found that the guidelines for investment appraisal, as depicted in the Treasury Green Book, prevent the approval of certain sustainability projects due to the way they are assessed. The review found that the current Green Book guidelines favour projects that are cheaper in the short-term over those with a strong, long-term sustainability focus. The report calls for these guidelines to be revised.
Phillip Woolley, partner at Grant Thornton in Manchester, said: "Despite the high profile that sustainability has on the government's agenda, we are faced with tough challenges in its implementation. Balancing the efficient use of resources, addressing climate change targets and facilitating sustainable economic growth means many cities are being forced to rethink how they invest for the future. Manchester and Liverpool are already regarded by many as leading in city-specific initiatives in economic regeneration and governance issues – if our key North West cities can rapidly learn to work more closely together the region may have an opportunity to lead the rest of the UK into a more productive and efficient model for achieving targets.
"Manchester and Liverpool need to lead a new era of partnership and collaboration if the North West is to narrow the gap between aspiration and reality when it comes to meeting the sustainability challenge."
The Sustainable Cities report , written by Grant Thornton's new energy, environment and sustainability team, was unveiled at an event in Spinningfields, Manchester, on Tuesday morning.
Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, welcomed the report which reviewed initiatives currently used in key cities across the UK to identify common barriers to sustainability.