Green New Deals aren’t just for cash-flushed central Governments. In the last year, Lewes DC in East Sussex has been growing its own distinctive variety of green economic strategy.
With a population of around 100,000, the district of Lewes offers something of a microcosm of economic divergence in the UK today.
While the county town of Lewes and much of the countryside is prosperous, pockets of considerable deprivation exist in the coastal towns of Newhaven, Peacehaven and Seaford, as well as in some rural areas. The climate crisis is not a distant after-thought in Lewes and its surrounds, but an all-too present reality, manifested in flooding and coastal erosion.
If its economic geography makes Lewes a kind of UK in miniature, its political landscape offers a striking contrast to the two-party drama of Westminster, run by an alliance of Green, Lib Dem, Labour and Independent councillors. In power since July 2019, this joint administration inherited the results of the harshest years of austerity. Assets were underdeveloped, and only 30 council homes were built in four years.