What we learned this week

The book went to press this week, finally, and it’ll be out in January as planned. Events further south TBC, but if you’re in Scotland, you’re welcome to Katherine and I for a launch event in Glasgow on the 29th of January and/or Edinburgh on the 30th.

For those interested in following up the story of Rugeley power station, here’s a report into the community planning workshop that happened recently.

Madrid’s plans to ban cars in the city centre came into effect this week. The new district of ‘Madrid Central’ has “472 hectares of the city center off-limits to traffic, except for local residents and public transportation.” Electric cars are also allowed.

Following Bristol recently, this week London passed a motion declaring a climate emergency and committing to being zero carbon by 2050. Madrid, Bristol and London are all good examples of how cities can take radical steps that governments can’t or won’t.

Unrelated but also in London, over 200 current and former MPs have signed up to Divest Parliament.

That’s an article from El Pais, which I’ve been reading this week. It is dominated by the success of the Vox party in Spanish regional elections, as one country after another wrestles with the rise of the far right. Next week I will be reading the Rio Times.


  1. With regards to Rugeley, the hard bit, it seems to me, is getting a foot in the door. We have a large, ex-industrial site here in Saddleworth and have just discovered that the owner and the Council are in talks about its redevelopment (for housing, what else). They didn’t tell anyone, despite a Neighbourhood Planning process supposedly being under way. Somehow we have to get them out of their (supposedly) cosy relationship and let us suggest an alternative approach…

    1. That is indeed the difficulty. In this case it’s being driven by the developer, and Engie are using a similar process on other sites. Unless you’ve got a developer with an interest in community planning, they’re unlikely to use it unless the council asks for it. As I find regularly in Luton, the council has working relationships with various developers that barely include the general public, and I’m not sure how you break that down. Perhaps there’s a local councillor / member of the planning committee who be persuaded if they’ve seen some good examples elsewhere.

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