Local decarbonisation opportunities and barriers: UK public procurement legislation

Katherine Sugar*, Tedd Moya Mose, Colin Nolden, Mark Davis, Nick Eyre, Albert Sanchez-Graells, Dan Van der Horst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Significant changes in public procurement are underway in the UK. Post-Brexit, the UK government is in the process of modifying the procurement rulebook. The new regime will be guided by the procurement strategy priorities of social value, jobs and net zero; however, the new approach to procurement foresees minimal rules and significant guidance. This paper explores implications of changing procurement legislation on the delivery of net zero at a local level in the UK. Particular focus lies on the many contracting authorities, such as county, city and district councils, that have declared climate emergencies and ambitions to decarbonise. Two case studies depicting the procurement of local net zero solutions, one on the Energy Efficient Scotland Programme and the other on place-based finance instruments, such as community municipal investments (CMIs), are used to identify existing opportunities and barriers to procure local net zero solutions with a particular focus on institutional governance. This paper concludes with a set of questions that need to be addressed to ensure that the changes to public procurement legislation are understood and that the institutional governance of intermediation can lead to outcomes that balance economic, social and environmental considerations across multiple scales.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-911
Number of pages17
JournalBuildings & Cities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2022

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Environmental Law and Sustainability


  • UK
  • public procurement
  • place-based finance
  • net zero
  • local authorities
  • environmental law
  • decarbonisation
  • climate action


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