Localisation of Labour Party combined heat and power/district heating policy: 1977-87

Marvin, Simon (1991). Localisation of Labour Party combined heat and power/district heating policy: 1977-87. PhD thesis The Open University.

Abstract

This thesis examines the impact of local political units of the Labour Party on the development of national party policy for Combined Heat and Power/District Heating (CHP/DH) energy production technology over the period 1977-87. Three particular localities, Newcastle, Sheffield and London, were selected for study because they had an important role in advocating the local development of CHP/DH. But the local implementation of CHP/DH in these Labour controlled local authorities was severely constrained by the policies of the Conservative Government and the institutional constraints imposed by the Electricity Supply Industry. One response by these localities has been the localisation of national party policy for CHP/DH. This refers to a local role in the formulation of national party policies by using the local-national party interface to transmit local policies and demands to the centre. Localisation is a complex process, it varies overtime, particular localities have different roles, a wide variety of structures linking the local-national party are utilised, different types of localisation are advocated by particular local groups and there are varying national party responses to the local demands.
It would be impossible to understand the development of national Labour Party policy for CHP/DH without an analysis of the role of particular Labour controlled local authorities in national policy formulation. The three cities examined in this study have provided an important axis of support for CHP/DH. They ensured that CHP/DH was placed on the national party policy agenda, provided local demonstrations of potential national policies, attempted to give policy a spatial dimension and develop a commitment to the municipal development of CHP/DH. But the national response to these demands was ambiguous. The national policy has reformulated and selected from the local demands and national party support for CHP/DH sits uncomfortably alongside other contradictory energy policies. However the local units of the party have ensured that CHP/DH was kept on the national party policy agenda, built up a body of support for CHP/DH and tried to ensure that the technology is incorporated into alternative strategies which could be implemented if a Labour government is elected.

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