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Sustainable Places: Going green from the bottom up

Dr David Halpern

Sarah Allan

Tom Le Quesne

Shanika Amarasekara

Mayor Tracy Brabin

Chair: Will Tanner

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Panel session

Friday 27th May, Halifax: 13:55 – 14:50

How can we encourage communities, households and neighbourhoods to make the transition to zero carbon? Whose role is it to coordinate retrofit, EV infrastructure or heat networks – and how can we encourage places to invest in green infrastructure themselves? What do we need to do to create places that are sustainable to live and work in? How can net zero help us to level up?


  • Dr David Halpern (joining virtually): David Halpern is the Chief Executive of the Behavioural Insights Team. David was the first Research Director of the Institute for Government and between 2001 and 2007 was the Chief Analyst at the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. David was also appointed as the What Works National Advisor in July 2013. He supports the What Works Network and leads efforts to improve the use of evidence across government.

  • Sarah Allan: Sarah Allan is Director of Capacity Building and Standards at Involve, a role focused on building the capacity of public servants and practitioners, and developing the body of evidence, principles and standards that support participatory and deliberative practice

  • Tom Le Quesne: Tom Le Quesne is Special Advisor, Responsible Business, Lloyds. He has 25 years experience in sustainability, impact investing, social impact and infrastructure.

  • Shanika Amarasekara: Shanika Amarasekara is the British Business Bank’s Executive Committee member responsible for ESG, Economics, Policy and Strategy. Shanika joined the British Business Bank in June 2014, as General Counsel and Company Secretary to the plc Board and General Counsel to British Business Bank. Prior to this she worked as General Counsel at an institution established by a number of central banks to promote financial stability and economic development.

  • Mayor Tracy Brabin: Tracy Brabin is a British Labour and Co-operative politician who was elected as the first Mayor of West Yorkshire, and the first ever woman Metro Mayor in England, in May 2021. During her campaign, Tracy pledged to create 1,000 skilled jobs for young people, lead a ‘Creative New Deal’ for the region, bring buses back under public control, tackle the climate emergency and build 5,000 affordable and sustainable homes. As Mayor, Tracy also inherits the roles and responsibilities of the former Police and Crime Commissioner. Her priorities for policing include to recruit more frontline officers and staff and to prioritise the safety of women and girls. Prior to her election as Mayor, Tracy was the Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen from 2016 until 2021. As MP, she held appointments as Shadow Early Years Minister, Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Shadow Minister for Cultural Industries.

  • Chair: Will Tanner: Will Tanner is the Director of Onward, a thinktank established in 2018 whose mission is to develop bold and practical ideas to boost economic opportunity and strengthen communities in all parts of the UK. Before Onward, Will advised Prime Minister Theresa May between 2013 and 2017, as a Special Adviser in the Home Office and as Deputy Head of Policy in 10 Downing Street.

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