CEP to deliver a new EEA project on urban sustainability assessments

CEP has been awarded a new project to assist the EEA in preparing the 2020 Report on Environmental Sustainability in Cities in Europe

Following on from two previous contracts on urban sustainability assessments delivered for the European Environment Agency (EEA), a CEP-led team will be undertaking a new contract to support preparation of the 2020 report on environmental sustainability in cities (ESIC).  CEP will be working in partnership with LSE Cities, and will be supported by experts from the University of Utrecht and cChange.

This new project has been awarded under the CEP-led framework service contract for the EEA which provides assistance on forward-looking analysis, sustainability assessments and systemic transitions.

The project will focus on two key aspects: firstly, delivering key urban sustainability assessments, including nexus analysis, following the conceptual and analytical frameworks previously developed by CEP; and secondly, understanding the sustainability innovations that have allowed some European cities to address complex environmental challenges while simultaneously thriving economically and strengthening their social fabric.  These will provide inputs to the preparation of the draft ECIS 2020 report.

For more information please contact CEP’s Ric Eales (Managing Director) or Rolands Sadauskis (Senior Consultant) for more information.

CEP and Brussels-based MILIEU renew their commitment to collaborate


CEP and Milieu - a multi-disciplinary consultancy based in Brussels specialising in providing high quality legal and policy services primarily for public sector clients - have been collaborating for more than 14 years.  In acknowledgement of our longstanding working relationship and successful collaborations, we are delighted to announce that we have renewed our Memorandum of Understanding which covers our mutual commitment to collaborate where appropriate in the provision of environmental consultancy services and to share expertise, knowledge and resources.

CEP and Milieu have been working together since 2005.  During this period we have jointly delivered some exciting, innovative and influential projects for both the European Commission and the European Environment Agency (EEA).  This work includes projects related to: policy evaluation and impact assessment; SEA; state of the environment reporting; environmental futures assessment; climate proofing policy; water management; science-policy interface; and environmental governance.

Ric Eales, CEP’s Managing Director, commented:

We enjoy excellent relationships with many partners in the UK and across Europe, but our relationship with Milieu has been particularly rewarding and successful over the last 14 years.  Over this time we have worked together on numerous projects particularly for European institutions and the success of these collaborations is to a great extent down to our shared culture and commitment to delivering quality services to our clients.  We look forward to our relationship with Milieu continuing to grow and strengthen in the years to come”.

This agreement highlights CEP’s continuing commitment to service our European institution clients, such as the European Commission and European Environment Agency (EEA).  Our ongoing work for European institutions includes projects on important topics, such as urban sustainability, emerging environmental risks and foresight, improving access to environmental information and justice, and the effectiveness and implementation of environmental regulations.


For more information contacts Ric Eales (Managing Director) r.eales@cep.co.uk

CEP's Ric Eales appointed Visiting Professor

CEP’s Ric Eales appointed visiting professor at the university of strathclyde, department of civil and environmental engineering

Photo credit: Montrose Street, Glasgow © MSeses / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0 (cropped)

We are pleased to announce that Ric Eales, CEP’s Managing Director, has been appointed a Visiting Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.

CEP has a long relationship with the University of Strathclyde and has collaborated on research and teaching over many years.  We have explored together issues as diverse as rural land use management, climate change impacts on transport infrastructure, social impacts of off-shore renewables, and stakeholder engagement in controversial proposed energy developments.

Ric’s appointment, which is a great honour, will reinforce this relationship into the future.  Ric is looking forward to working with both the staff and students in this innovative and multidisciplinary department.

For more information contacts Ric Eales r.eales@cep.co.uk / ric.eales@strath.ac.uk

European Commission publishes report on implementation of WFD and the Floods Directive

European Commission publishes new report on the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Floods Directive, which includes research input from CEP.

The overall assessment was led by WRc and CEP were part of the team assessing the first round of implementation of the Floods Directive (FD), coordinated by Milieu. The full report was published by the Commission last week.

The report provides an overview of the first Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMPs) produced by EU Member States and reported to the European Commission under the FD. The report focuses on progress so far and is accompanied by a series of Commission Staff Working Documents with both EU overviews and individual Member State assessments.

The FD, introduced in 2007 in response to the large floods across Europe in 2002 sets a framework for reducing risk of flood damage. The growing uncertainties surrounding flood risk management require continuous monitoring and adjustment of practices to ensure the lowest possible damages.

For more information please contact Paula Orr (Technical Director).

CEP at Parliamentary Event as part of the evaluation of the Our Bright Future Programme

CEP participated in a Parliamentary Event in Westminster as part of our role in evaluating the Our Bright Future Programme

Photo courtesy of The Wildlife Trust

Photo courtesy of The Wildlife Trust

CEP’s Owen White attended a Parliamentary Event at Portcullis House in Westminster, London organised by the Our Bright Future Programme. The event was used to highlight to MPs and senior civil servants the successes of the Programme, and in particular provide an opportunity to communicate three key changes young people want to see: more time spent learning in and about nature; support to get into environmental job; more attention to be paid to the needs of young people and the environment.

CEP’s participation was as part of our role in the ongoing evaluation of the Our Bright Future Programme. We were observing the event and meeting with participants from the Programme and MPs to help understand the role of the event in meeting Programme objectives related to encouraging changes in policy and practice. For more information contact Owen White (Technical Director)

CEP-led consortium to deliver new EEA project on transitions governance

CEP-led consortium has been awarded a new EEA project to develop a report on governance and policy for sustainability transitions

A new project has been awarded under the CEP-led framework service contract for the European Environment Agency (EEA) which provides assistance on forward looking analysis, sustainability assessments and systemic transitions.

This project, led by the Sustainable Consumption Institute at the University of Manchester, will further develop and finalise a report on the implications of research into sustainability transitions and transformations for European policy and governance. This project continues work previously completed under an earlier project. CEP has a role in this project to review the report for quality purposes, overall coherence, and to ensure accessibility for the target audience.

For more information please contact CEP’s Owen White, the overall Framework Contract Manager, or Dr Bill Sheate, the Framework Contract Director.

CEP author British Council report on SDG16

New report by CEP on how the British Council is contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 16


In 2017 the British Council commissioned Collingwood Environmental Planning (CEP) to provide a baseline assessment of how it is contributing to the achievement of a sub-set of ten SDGs. The Council has now published a new report by CEP: SDG 16 – A cultural relations approach to peace, justice and strong institutions.

The British Council is interested in understanding how its work contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 16 is a strategic goal which is fundamental to the achievement of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The research drew on international literature about the SDGs, reports on British Council projects and programmes, including inception reports, progress reports and internal and external evaluation; the research team also conducted interviews with selected project managers, stakeholders and/or participants. A set of 12 British Council programmes and projects spanning the breadth of the organisation’s work areas and its geographical spread, were selected for detailed review. Six of the 12 projects and programmes specifically targeted children and young people. Working with young people, especially in regions affected by conflict such as the Middle East and North Africa, is a priority for the British Council.

The report can be found at Sustainable Development Goals Report

For more information, contact: Paula Orr (Technical Director)

Rebecca Jones joins CEP


Rebecca Jones has recently joined CEP as a Consultant. She has a background in biological sciences and recently completed an MSc in Environmental Technology at Imperial College London, specialising in Global Environmental Change and Policy. She has strong quantitative and qualitative research and analytical skills and has experience of undertaking research and analysis on topics including food security and sustainable agriculture, plastic pollution, and climate justice. Her Master’s thesis explored the role of philanthropy in the environmental governance of ocean plastic pollution. She also has previous experience of environmental campaigning.

Rebecca will be working on a number of projects for CEP, including FORENV - the new EU foresight system to detect emerging environmental issues; and Our Bright Future.

New report by CEP on community resilience


CEP‘s evaluation of Phase 1 of the Communities Prepared project has recently been published by Groundwork South.  Funded by the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund to support community resilience across the country, the project aims to help community groups to be better able to respond to, and recover from, flooding and other emergencies.  The pilot phase ran from February 2016 to February 2018 and was implemented by Groundwork South in partnership with Cornwall Community Flood Forum and Cornwall College and supported by national organisations like the Environment Agency.  

The aim of the pilot phase was to test the Community Resilience Toolkit prepared by Cornwall Community Flood Forum following the floods in Cornwall in 2010. CEP was commissioned to design and carry out a process and impact evaluation of the pilot across its two-year lifetime, drawing on information gathered from communities and stakeholders to provide learning which can be used in the Phase 2 application.

The evaluation report can be found at: Communities Prepared Pilot Evaluation

For more information contact Paula Orr (Technical Director)

CEP staff promotion

New staff promotion at CEP


We are pleased to announce that Dr Sian Morse-Jones has recently been promoted from Senior Consultant to Principal Consultant, reflecting her well-established commitment to CEP's approach and the responsibilities she has assumed. Sian has been at CEP since 2017, working on a range of projects across our key areas, including, social research, natural capital, ecosystem services, governance, and evaluation.

CEP investigating EU Environmental Implementation Portal


CEP, in conjunction with project partners Bilbomática and Wood Consulting, are undertaking a Feasibility study on the Development and maintenance of an EU Environmental Implementation Portal, under a framework contract led of Milieu Ltd for the Directorate-General (DG) Environment of the European Commission.  

The aim of the project is to examine how a multi-purpose Environmental Implementation Portal (EIP) can be designed as a ‘one stop shop’, to facilitate quick access to the services of information/data that meet the needs of a wide range of users.  The key focus of the portal will be to provide information related to the areas and pieces of environmental legislation under the responsibility of DG Environment (for example air quality, biodiversity, and water legislation), but it could also include information such as environmental data, indicators, and reports. A wide range of users are expected, including policy-makers, NGOs, and academics.

CEP are leading the first two tasks of the project, which seek to identify and analyse different users, their needs and interests, and existing good practice of similar information portals. This will be supported through a mixed-methods approach including user mapping, analysis, desk-based research, and primary data collection through surveys and interviews with stakeholder groups. 

For more information on the project, please contact Ric Eales (Managing Director) or Paula Orr (Technical Director).      

New report by CEP on dog walkers’ attitudes and behaviours

New report provides baseline assessment on dog walkers’ attitudes and behaviours for the South Downs National Park Authority’s ‘Take the Lead’ campaign

CEP were commissioned by the South Downs National Park Authority to undertake a study to establish baseline data on key sites for dog walker behaviour and engagement among heathlands within the South Downs National Park.  The study has informed and is part of the Heathlands Reunited Heritage Lottery Funded project’s Take the Lead campaign which is being led by the National Park Authority.

The study, in 2018, conducted desk research and developed a public survey in order to gain baseline data on dog walkers’ attitudes and behaviours. This survey will be repeated during the final year of the Heathlands Reunited project (2021), in order to explore the impact of the Take the Lead campaign on behaviour change.

The final project baseline report has now been published: The Heathlands Reunited Evaluation of Behaviour Change in Dog Walkers Baseline Report

For more information contact Paula Orr (Technical Director) or Sian Morse-Jones

CEP leading EU sense-making workshops on emerging environmental issues

CEP to lead four sense-making workshops as part of our role as secretariat for the EU Foresight System for the detection of emerging environmental issues (FORENV)

In our role of providing the secretariat for the EU Commission’s new EU Foresight System for the detection of emerging environmental issues (FORENV), CEP will be moderating four sense-making workshops.  The workshops will be held between the 11th and 17th January 2019 in Ispra (Italy), Copenhagen (Denmark) and two in Brussels (Belgium), and will bring together 40 experts from the Commission, EU Member States and research institutions.

The workshops are being organised as part of the first annual cycle of FORENV, which is running from September 2018 – September 2019, and is focusing on the topic ‘Emerging issues at the environment-social interface’.  Across the workshops almost 200 ‘weak signals’ of change related to this topic will be discussed, clustered and prioritised.  Each session will be run in a participatory way to engage and draw on the knowledge of participants.  CEP have led the organisation of the workshops and will be moderating them with support from our partners Cranfield University, Milieu Ltd and representatives of the European Commission.

Drawing on the workshop outcomes, up to 10 priority emerging issues will be proposed for further consideration in the next steps of the FORENV system.

For further information please contact Owen White (Technical Director) or Paula Orr (Technical Director).

CEP-led Consortium delivers second set of European Environment Agency contracts


CEP is pleased to announce the successful completion of the second set of five contracts awarded during 2018 under the CEP-led framework service contract for the European Environment Agency (EEA) which provides assistance to the consolidation and update of the knowledge base on global megatrends and resource nexus in support of SOER 2020 (the European Environment State and Outlook Report) [1].

The five most recent projects have again had the overarching objective of supporting the framing and content of SOER 2020 by building on the first set of seven contracts to further consolidate the evidence and knowledge base across a range of topics as well as providing new analysis.  

Three projects have directly followed-on from contracts delivered under the first set:

·         The first [2], led by CEP on ‘Drivers of Change’, involved the development and implementation of an analytical framework for identifying and analysing the implications of drivers of change on consumption and production systems in Europe.  This contract built on our previous work on global megatrends and the resource nexus. 

·         The second follow-on contract has supported EEA in the development of the knowledge-base and reporting related to sustainability transitions.  As part of this contract CEP coordinated research and reporting into the empirical description of food, energy and mobility systems in Europe. 

 ·         The third follow-on project, led by CEP, was on urban sustainability and continued our previous work developing a new framework for urban sustainability assessment and supporting the EEA in running related stakeholder events. 

In addition, two specific contracts represented new areas of work.  One identified and characterised critical interactions between environmental SDGs from a European perspective.  CEP provided expert advice on methodology development and developed a report on the implications of the key project findings for EU research, policy and governance.  The other, led by CEP, supported the development of an EEA report, planned for publication in 2019, on the linkages between the environment and quality of life in EEA member countries.  CEP’s contribution to the report focuses on environmental health across Europe, environmental risks to health and the environmental benefits to health and well-being.

All the projects were completed between May and December 2018 and have helped EEA by providing critical inputs, often to tight timescales, to support the drafting of SOER 2020, as well as developing new knowledge and reporting on environmental challenges for Europe from a systems and transitions perspective.

For more information please contact CEP’s Owen White, the overall Framework Contract Manager, or Dr Bill Sheate, the Framework Contract Director.


[1] Awarded in May 2017, CEP has now overseen the preparation and delivery of a total of twelve projects awarded under the framework contract to date.  CEP has led the delivery of seven of the twelve projects delivered so far, including overall project management, technical lead on research tasks, and preparing reporting to summarise findings to provide maximum support to the EEA in relation to SOER 2020.  CEP’s work on these projects has involved collaboration with a diverse range of partners including universities and research institutions, consultancies, national environmental agencies and European networks of experts (such as the Eionet network of foresight experts).

[2] Assistance to the development of the report ‘Drivers of change and their implications on the European environment – A systems-based overview’ and to the extension of the analysis of European policies through the resource nexus lens

CEP supporting Evaluation of SEA Directive


As part of the Study to support the REFIT evaluation of Directive 2001/42/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment (SEA Directive) CEP will support the project lead, Milieu Ltd, in delivering a workshop for the European Commission on evaluation of the SEA Directive.

The purpose of the workshop is to present and discuss the emerging findings of the SEA REFIT study with the members of the panel and a wide professional audience including participants from EU member states environmental and other authorities and institutions, European Commission, NGOs, companies and industry associations, practice and academia.

The workshop will be held in Brussels on 6th December.

For more information contact Dr Bill Sheate (Technical Director) or Spela Kolaric (Senior Consultant).      

CEP runs assessment training course for EKN

CEP runs successful environmental assessment and ecosystem services training course again in 2018

Dr Bill Sheate, Spela Kolaric and Alex Mackaness delivered once again our very successful one-day training course on environmental assessment and ecosystem services for the Ecosystems Knowledge Network (EKN) this last week to 30 participants, building on the success of previous training courses across the UK during 2016 and 2017.

The one-day training course - on Incorporating ecosystem services and natural capital into environmental assessment - was held at the offices of Tideway, in London on Thursday 22nd November 2018 with participants from consultancies, the environmental agencies from across the UK devolved administrations, academics and practitioners from the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

For further information. including possible future dates, see the EKN link here.

CEP supporting EEA urban sustainability assessment


For the first time, the European Environment Agency (EEA) will be explicitly addressing urban sustainability in the European Environment State and Outlook Report for 2020 (SOER2020). As part of CEP's current framework contract with the EEA on forward-looking analysis, sustainability assessments and systemic transitions, CEP in partnership with LSE Cities, PBL and cChange is currently undertaking a contract on urban sustainability to support this aspect of SOER2020. Specifically, the project is building on the knowledge base and other deliverables from a previous contract undertaken by CEP and will deliver an analytical framework and selected nexus analysis for urban sustainability assessments 2019-2020. Another important aim of this project is to develop the approach to an urban sustainability meta-benchmarking exercise.

On 15th and 16th  November, CEP's Ric Eales and Rolands Sadauskis together with Dr. Philipp Rode from LSE Cities will be facilitating a one and a half day meeting with EEA stakeholders in Copenhagen to seek their input to the ongoing work.

As part of this meeting, Ric and Rolands will present the revised conceptual framework and introduce participants to an analytical framework designed to support the assessment of urban environmental sustainability. They will also facilitate a session on discussing an approach to urban sustainability nexus analysis. Dr Philipp Rode will facilitate a session in which stakeholders will discuss a possible approach to a meta-analysis exercise based on criteria used for awarding a wide range of international urban sustainability awards - what makes a city ‘sustainable’?

Please contact Rolands Sadauskis (Senior Consultant) for more information.

CEP Supporting Our Bright Future Evaluation

CEP support workshop with steering group on Our Bright Future evaluation

CEP supported project lead ERS in delivering a workshop to members of the Our Bright Future Programme’s Steering Group, as part of the programme evaluation. Our Bright Future is a five year Big Lottery funded programme supporting 31 youth and environment projects across the UK.

The purpose of the session was to draw upon the views and insight of the steering group for the upcoming mid-term programme evaluation in 2019. The themes explored in the workshop, led by ERS, included a discussion on the programme outcomes, external factors influencing the programme, and programme objectives required to achieve the aspired programme legacy.

The workshop was held in the London Welsh Centre in North London on 24th October. Please contact Izzy Cotton for more information.

Why are Cities Good for Sustainability?

Why are Cities Good for Sustainability?

Blog post by Rolands Sadauskis

Is this the new “age of the City”? Millions of people are moving to cities every week[1] and the growing numbers of megacities (with populations of over 10 million) have the capacity to rival nation states in power and influence.  The importance of the city to achieve sustainability outcomes is increasing by the day.  


In the urban curriculum cities are viewed as a double edged sword. They epitomise the social, economic and technological achievements of modern day societies. For policy makers, having people in a concentrated space can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of policy implementation, whereas urban citizens enjoy the benefits of more accessible education, health and work opportunities than their rural counterparts. However, there is a down side – cities generate the majority of the global carbon emissions[2] and consume the majority of energy resources[3]. Pollution and mobility challenges, social inequality, inadequate housing, and exposure to climate change impacts (e.g. floods, sea level rise, tropical cyclones etc.) are among many pressing issues that urban populations are facing globally.

Urban governance is a critical part of any urban sustainability solution that seeks to address these challenges. Urban policies are highly interdependent on each other. In this context, it is crucial to identify suitable governance arrangements to take these interdependencies and possible trade-offs into account. Further, cities are also profoundly connected to their suburban and rural hinterland and so their policies and activities can have a wide-ranging impact, especially on resource demand (consumption) and waste management.


In recent decades, numerous cities have actively taken the path towards sustainability and increasingly are acknowledging the efforts required to achieve their ambition by being part of international organisations committed to sustainable development (e.g. c40, ICLEI etc[4].). These cities have been implementing international standards and often applying and moving beyond existing national standards. A good example is the international response to climate change where cities are actively taking the lead in climate action and inspire deeper commitments from national governments and each other, in support of the 2015 Paris Agreement. More recently a new initiative is bringing together mayors from global cities to develop a collective message and engage in a G20 dialogue process with an urban perspective on key sustainability issues. The inaugural Urban 20 Mayors Summit (October 2018) will be the first ever international summit for cities with such a focus on global sustainability issues.

There are numerous benefits from cities taking the required actions and embracing sustainability. A global effort by cities would likely contribute significantly towards the achievement of various global agendas including the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris climate agreement. It would also bring many social, economic and environmental benefits both in cities and their hinterland. 


Achieving sustainability outcomes (such as highlighted in UN SDGs) requires a collective effort from all levels of policy making. In these efforts cities must and can be part of sustainable solutions on pressing global issues. Existing global trends in their increasing political influence and willingness to take the initiative in addressing the pressing needs of their citizens strongly suggest that cities provide a good platform for enhancing sustainability. Consequently, one should not question the importance of cities in achieving sustainability outcomes, but rather ask - do cities get the power they need to bring about the change required to address them?

by Rolands Sadauskis, Senior Consultant, CEP, 26 October 2018

[1] https://graylinegroup.com/urbanization-catalyst-overview/

[2] https://www.c40.org/why_cities

[3] https://unhabitat.org/urban-themes/energy/

[4] C40 is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change, https://www.c40.org/; ICLEI is the leading global network of 1,500+ cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future, https://www.iclei.org/.