Think tank offers guidance on securing public interest in water and energy

Sustainability First has published the final outcome of its 2015-2018 work to define and identify a path towards securing the long term public interest in water and energy.

Last week, the think tank held a launch event for its Looking to the long term: hearing the public interest voice in energy and water – eight agendas for change report, a product of its multi-stakeholder New Energy and Water Public Interest Network (New-Pin). The network identified six desirable outcomes that together make up the public interest but can also pull in different directions: value for money, quality of service, a clean/sustainable environment, long run resilience, ‘place’-based wellbeing, and fairness both within and between generations.

It found simple metrics to evaluate the delivery of public interest elusive, and instead set out eight public interest agendas and “levers for change” for use by water companies and other stakeholders. It suggested “adopting a ‘comply or explain’ ethos can help maintain focus on what companies, regulators and government are doing to adopt and embed public interest thinking”.