Image for What went right this week: the plan to rewild a city centre, plus more positive news

What went right this week: the plan to rewild a city centre, plus more positive news

The EU’s largest oil producer pledged to stop drilling, a fund was launched to tackle homelessness in Manchester and plans to rewild Nottingham city centre were revealed, plus more positive news

The EU’s largest oil producer pledged to stop drilling, a fund was launched to tackle homelessness in Manchester and plans to rewild Nottingham city centre were revealed, plus more positive news

Positive news: Plans to rewild Nottingham city centre published
Plans to rewild Nottingham city centre published

The collapse of retailers like Arcadia has left many wondering what the future looks like for the UK’s town and city centres. Enter Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, which this week laid out its vision (main image) for a post-retail urban landscape.

Following an announcement that the city’s long-lambasted Broadmarsh shopping centre would be demolished, the trust presented its plans to rewild the retail wasteland as part of a wider proposal to link the city with Sherwood Forest (pictured), home to the fabled Robin Hood.

“Transforming the Broadmarsh into a natural greenspace would bring people together and start putting the city’s nature into recovery at a time when natural greenspace has never been more valued or needed,” said the trust’s CEO, Paul Wilkinson, who described the plans as a “once in a generation opportunity to carve out a green future for the city centre”.

Image: Nilfanion/Creative Commons

Positive news: The EU’s largest oil producer promised to stop drilling
The EU’s largest oil producer promised to stop drilling

In a move described by Greenpeace as a “watershed moment”, Denmark has announced that it will cancel all future permits for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, and phase out existing production by 2050. The Nordic country is the largest oil producer in the European Union.

“We are now putting a final end to the fossil era,” said the Danish climate minister, Dan Jorgensen, whose government also announced a fund to help impacted workers find opportunities in more sustainable industries.

“This is a huge victory for the climate movement,” said Greenpeace’s Helene Hagel. “Denmark is a small country but has the potential to punch above its weight and pave the way for the necessary transition to green, renewable energy.”

Image: Clyde Thomas

A major investor pledged to dump fossil fuel stock

One of the world’s largest investors, the New York State pension fund, pledged this week to ditch its dirtiest fossil fuel stock within five years, and committed to selling all shares in companies that are driving the climate crisis by 2040.

With US$226bn (£170bn) in assets, the fund carries considerable financial clout and could help accelerate a broader shift in global markets away from fossil fuel investments.

The New York State pension fund joins a growing number of financial institutions that are divesting from oil and gas. As Positive News reported in July, Nest, the UK’s largest pension fund by membership, announced that it would dump its shares in companies that are involved in coal extraction, tar sands and arctic drilling.

Image: Zbynek Burival

Greater Manchester to buy homes for rough sleepers

Some rough sleepers in Greater Manchester will be provided with homes thanks to a novel funding model.

The National Homeless Property Fund allows authorities to invest in properties, and lease them to housing associations and homeless charities. The fund was launched by Resonance, a social impact investment company, and has an initial budget of £20m.

“The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated an already alarming crisis of housing and homelessness in this country,” said Salford mayor Paul Dennett. “The National Homelessness Property Fund therefore is a timely initiative, and our investment will help us to address the fast-rising demand for social housing and give people in our city-region the security, stability and support they need.”

Image: Andreea Popa

Positive news: A report slashed the bill for the low-carbon transition
A report slashed the bill for the low-carbon transition

For less than one per cent of its GDP, the UK could reduce carbon emissions by 78 per cent compared to 1990 levels within just 15 years, according to a landmark report by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

The CCC, which advises the government on climate change, says the falling cost of low-carbon technologies would result in huge savings in fuel costs and reduce the cost of reaching net zero. Sceptics claim the committee has underestimated the bill.

If accurate, the CCC’s predictions would bring forward the UK’s clean energy timetable by 15 years, a timescale that was previously unthinkable. It would also mean that the UK could meet its obligations laid out in the Paris agreement.

Image: Mariana Proenca

the UK’s first Electric Forecourt
The UK’s first electric car forecourt opened

The UK’s first electric-only forecourt opened this week near Braintree, Essex, representing a breakthrough for the mass expansion of the UK’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Chargers at the forecourt dispense clean energy sourced from one of the UK’s first subsidy-free solar farms at Clayhill, Bedfordshire. The forecourt also has overhead solar canopies and an on-site battery capable of storing enough energy to fuel 24,000 miles.

Gridserve, the firm behind the project, said it plans to open more than 100 of the charging stations across the UK over the next five years. Read the full Positive News report here.

Image: Gridsave

Positive news: The UK’s largest supermarket cut back on plastic
The UK’s largest supermarket cut back on plastic

Tesco has become the latest UK supermarket chain to pledge to reduce plastic in its Christmas range.

Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Iceland have all recently introduced seasonal products that use less or no single-use plastic, a development that campaigners said was “promising”.

Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, claims to have removed more than 20m pieces of single-use plastic from its seasonal range. It has also eliminated glitter in all packaging, meaning its wrapping paper, gift bags and cards are all now widely recyclable. Read the full Positive News report here.

Image: Sincerely Media
Main image: Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

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