New study uses sustainability to measure local prosperity

Sustainability is one of the key factors that provides an insight into local prosperity and the conditions that "enable people and places to thrive".

That's according to a new report from Bristol-based charity Happy City, which assessed data from 150 local authorities across England in three main categories: sustainability, equality and local conditions.

Named the Thriving Places Index, the study is thought to be the most comprehensive analysis ever undertaken of how successfully local authorities are creating the conditions required for people to thrive.

Key findings showed that there is a distinct north-south divide in England, including where sustainability is concerned. The London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Newham and Luton topped the sustainability section of the report, partly because of their low levels of energy consumption and relatively high recycling rates.

London has introduced various measures and initiatives to improve air quality and limit the city's impact on the environment, such as the Ultra Low-Emission Zone (ULEZ). Due to come into effect on April 8th 2019, the ULEZ will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Publishing their findings, Happy City and Triodos Bank, which supported the research, said it is time to come up with a new way of measuring the prosperity and success of countries and regions.

Happy City founder Liz Zeidler said: "Rising inequality and climate chaos are clear alarm bells that tell us the current system is no longer fit for purpose, so we decided to take matters into our own hands and come up with a model that measures what matters.

"The index is a practical tool, that can be used right now, to help leaders who want to ensure the sum of their efforts - in every sector - is a better quality of life for people now and in the future."

Businesses and other organisations based in any region across the UK can boost their sustainability by introducing features such as hybrid ventilation, which can help to optimise energy consumption.

Image: iStock/NicoElNino