Our Bright Future Programme mid-term evaluation report published

Our Bright Future Programme mid-term evaluation report published

CEP, with partners ERS, are undertaking the evaluation+ of the Our Bright Future Programme, which aims to empower young people to lead progressive change in their communities and local environment, through a portfolio of 31 projects across the UK, each with a duration of three to five years++.

As part of this evaluation the mid-term report has now been published.  The report presents and evaluates evidence on what has been achieved since the beginning of the programme while promoting learning and supporting the ongoing delivery of the programme.  The report is structured around four programme themes: outcomes for young people; outcomes for the environment and communities; outcomes for policy and practice; and, outcomes of the youth led and partnership approach.

Selected key findings include:

  • The programme has directly engaged 85,788 young people, which already far exceeds the programme’s overall target of 60,000 young people participating in Our Bright Future activities

  • Young people have gained a range of knowledge and new skills both specific to environmental topics, and more general soft and transferable skills

  • Projects have improved participants’ self-confidence, wellbeing and mental health

  • The Our Bright Future programme is supporting a wide range of terrestrial and marine habitats, through a variety of conservation tasks

  • A survey of 450 young people involved in the programme found that projects have increased participants’ awareness of environmental issues and improved their attitudes towards spending time in the natural environment

Owen White is CEP’s lead for this project, please contact him for more information.


+The evaluation aims to:

  • Test whether the Our Bright Future Programme has achieved its long term ambitions

  • Provide better evidence on how young people can improve their local environment

  • Test and evidence whether a partnership way of working that invests in human, social and natural capital, is an effective means by which to deliver greater impact

  • Identify good practice and ongoing improvements

++The Programme is supported by £33 million of funding from the Big Lottery Fund, and is managed by a consortium of eight organisations led by The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts.

CEP has contributed to new EEA report on Sustainability Transitions


The European Environment Agency has published a report developed under the CEP-led framework service contract which provides assistance on forward looking analysis, sustainability assessments and systemic transitions.  The report on Sustainability transitions: policy and practice, has been developed through three projects delivered under the framework service contract, which have brought together research on the implications of sustainability transitions and transformations for European policy and governance. 

The report development was led by the Sustainable Consumption Institute at the University of Manchester, with input from the Institute for Ecological Economy Research, Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex, Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT) at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Fraunhofer ISI and the German Environment Agency.  CEP has contributed to the report by coordinating the characterisation of three key ‘socio-technical’ systems (food, energy and mobility).  CEP also reviewed 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.

CEP co-authors on EU SEA Directive report

CEP co-authors of a recent European Commission ‘REFIT’ study on the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive 2001/42/EU

The European Commission has recently published a report on the findings of a study to evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU added value of the SEA Directive. CEP was a partner in the evaluation (with Milieu Ltd) and led the development of report chapters on effectiveness and relevance as well as contributing to the rest of the report [1].

The ‘REFIT’ [2] report (published in June 2019) summarises the current implementation of the SEA Directive in EU countries and the outcomes from the analysis for each of the evaluation criteria. It also incorporates the outcomes of a stakeholder workshop to discuss the research findings.

The study found that the SEA Directive brings considerable benefits to the EU, contributing to wider goals on sustainable development and environmental protection through integration of environmental concerns into the appropriate plans and programmes. The study also identified some concerns around scope and efficiency, and a number of priority issues that should be considered for further action, including: the clarification of the scope of application of the Directive, a more strategic approach to scoping and the dissemination of good practices.

The report is available here.

For further information contact Dr Bill Sheate (Technical Director), Spela Kolaric (Senior Consultant) or Rolands Sadauskis (Senior Consultant).

[1] The authors of the report were: Jennifer McGuinn, Lise Oulès, Paola Banfi, Alicia McNeill, Sarah O’Brien, Zuzana Lukakova (Milieu); William Sheate, Spela Kolaric, Rolands Sadauskis (Collingwood Environmental Planning).

[2] A ‘REFIT’ study is an evaluation under the European Commission’s Regulatory Fitness Check and Performance programme, to ensure a Directive is ‘fit for purpose’ . It seeks to provide an evidence-based analysis as to whether EU actions are proportionate to their objectives and delivering as expected.



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.

The project will build on the outcomes of previous work to prepare a report based on an analysis of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) interactions. CEP contributed to this previous work by preparing a working note on the implications of SDG interactions for EU policy. The new project, led by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), will prepare a report that will provide an accessible presentation of the approach to SDGs interactions analysis and of the results and implications of the previous analysis. CEP will provide overall quality control for this work.

For more information please contact CEP’s Owen White, the overall Framework Contract Manager, or Rolands Sadauskis, Framework Contract Coordinator.

CEP developing baseline social information for Marine Management Organisation

CEP is contributing to research led by ICF to provide baseline social information for the Marine Management Organisation

ICF, CEP and ABPmer were contracted by Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to undertake a study to support social baseline assessments for marine plans.

After an initial identification and prioritisation of social evidence needs, three research topics were agreed with MMO.   CEP is leading on two research topics: Seascape quality, value and links to sense of place; and Health and wellbeing benefits of coastal recreation and barriers to access.  Research on a third priority topic (Socio-economic deprivation in coastal communities) is being led by ICF.  CEP’s research involves literature review, focus groups, interviews and analysis.   For the Seascapes research, ABPmer developed a tailored-made online survey and map to gather the views of local residents about the coastal places that are special for them. 

The research topics will be published as separate reports later this year on the MMO’s website

For more information please contact CEP’s Paula Orr (Technical Director) or Sian Morse-Jones (Principal Consultant) for more information.


CEP at the XV International Congress of Environmental Psychology 2019


Dr Clare Twigger-Ross is giving a keynote talk on Tuesday 16th July at the XV Congreso de Psicologia Ambiental-PSCIAMB: Community, resources and sustainability: the challenge of territories. She will be presenting her paper Building resilience capacities of communities to flood risk: reflections on theory and practice in the UK. The paper draws on research that CEP and associates have carried out for Defra and the Environment Agency over the past decade.  

The conference is being held at the University of la Laguna, Tenerife from 16th – 19th July 2019.

For more information please contact Dr Clare Twigger-Ross (Technical Director).

Building resilience capacities of communities to flood risk: reflections on theory and practice in the UK


Climate change will increase the frequency, severity and extent of flooding in the UK with the present 1.8 million people living in areas at significant flood risk predicted to rise to 2.6 million under a 2° scenario and to 3.3 million under a 4° scenario (CCRA, 2017)The health and social impacts of floods have been documented over a number of years (e.g. Walker et al, 2005; Tapsell and Tunstall, 2008) with recent robust studies on the effects on mental health (e.g. Public Health England, 2017;Miljevic et al, 2017) showing the impact to be quite considerable.   Given these negative social impacts it becomes even more important to understand how communities and individuals alongside local professionals (e.g. local authorities, emergency services) might be able to improve or develop greater community resilience. Dr Twigger-Ross together with her colleagues at Collingwood Environmental Planning has been working on projects for the UK government and its agencies since 2005 on aspects of flooding and this paper draws on that work within the framework of community resilience.   Community resilience is a way of thinking about resilience to flooding at a local and place based level, understanding that there will be multiple communities and social networks intersecting in a given flood risk area.  In this paper Cutter et al’s (2010) disaster resilience of place is drawn on to locate  community resilience which is defined as a “set of capacities that can be fostered through interventions and policies, which in turn help  build and enhance a community’s ability to respond, recover  from [and adapt] to disasters”(Cutter et al, 2010).   The capacities examined by Twigger-Ross et al, (2015) are institutional resilience capacities, social resilience capacities, community capital, infrastructure resilience capacities and economic resilience capacities and they will be elaborated on within this paper.  Importantly, in order to meet the challenges of climate change the type of resilience will need to focus on the proactive/transformative type of resilience rather than the reactive/defensive type of resilience.   A number of active interventions have been developed in the UK by to improve levels of resilience capacity, through government and charity funding, together with grassroots interventions emergent after a flood and the factors for their success or otherwise will be discussed in relation to the community resilience framework. Further, it is recognised that the concept of resilience is both complex and contested, not just the opposite of vulnerability and the paper will comment on that, specifically in the context of its use by UK government and its agencies.  Finally, the role and impact of “contract” research and the position of researchers within that will be examined through the paper.

CEP attending Our Bright Future Annual Seminar


CEP’s Owen White is attending this year’s annual Share Learn Improve seminar in Belfast of the Our Bright Future (OBF) programme as part of CEP’s role in the evaluation of the OBF programme.  The seminar brings together all of the youth and environmental projects to discuss and share experiences and good practice in management and delivery.

As part of this seminar, Owen will be contributing to an interactive working session to engage participating projects in the findings of the Mid-Term Programme Evaluation Report, and identify specific actions and next steps for projects and the OBF Programme team.

The evaluation team is led by ERS with CEP and is carrying out the evaluation of the programme between 2016 - 2021. The Programme Evaluation seeks to identify, analyse and assess:

  • the collective impact of the portfolio of 31 projects;

  • the added value of the Programme i.e. what value has been derived from a programme with the Share Learn Improve, Policy and Youth Function and from the development of an Our Bright Future network/movement;

  • whether the Programme has achieved its long-term ambitions; and

  • best practice and lessons learnt, and provide evidence and guidance to support Programme learning and development.

Please contact Owen White (Technical Director) for more information.

CEP running EEA workshop on urban sustainability


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 (SOER 2020). 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, cChange and University of Utrecht, is undertaking a third contract to support urban sustainability assessments, building on previous contracts.

Specifically the project will deliver nexus analysis for urban sustainability assessments and  prepare a first draft of the 2020 Environmental Sustainability in Cities (ESIC) Report. Another important aim of this project is to develop an urban sustainability meta-analysis exercise of the drivers of urban sustainability transitions.

On Wednesday 26th June, CEP's Ric Eales and Rolands Sadauskis together with partners from LSE Cities are running a one-day workshop in Copenhagen involving experts form EEA and European Topic Centres to facilitate their input to the ongoing work.

For more information please contact Rolands Sadauskis (Senior Consultant).

CEP at Flood & Coast 2019 conference

Dr Clare Twigger-Ross (CEP) a panel member at the 2019 Flood and Coast conference.

Dr Clare Twigger-Ross will be presenting, on 18 June 2019, a short paper on community resilience to flooding at the 2019 Conference panel session Climate change - how do we overcome the physical, political & societal barriers to meet the challenge.  The other members of the panel are:  


Convened by the Environment Agency, the Flood & Coast conference 2019 is a unique event that advances the debate about flood and coast erosion risk, resilience and response between government bodies and local authorities with business, major infrastructure and asset managers, as well as affected communities. 

For more information please contact Dr Clare Twigger-Ross (Technical Director).

CEP delivering EKN training

Incorporating natural capital and ecosystem services into environmental assessments: Exploring best practice

Two dates for this course in 2019:

  • 26th June 2019, Leeds (Coth Hall Court, LS21 2HA).

  • 27th November 2019, Central London (Cotton Centre, SE1 2QG)

This course, which is now in its third year, will equip you to inform clients or colleagues on the merits of including the ecosystem services and natural capital concepts in environmental assessment processes. There is now strong interest in what ecosystem services, natural capital and nature-based solutions mean for Environmental Impact Assessment, Strategic Environmental Assessment and Sustainability Appraisal.  The course is delivered by Dr Bill Sheate and Spela Kolaric of Collingwood Environmental Planning and organised by the Ecosystems Knowledge Network.

Find out more and book at: https://ecosystemsknowledge.net/events/training-environmental-assessment

CEP supporting the Study on EU implementation of the Aarhus Convention

CEP supporting the Study on EU implementation of the Aarhus Convention in the area of access to justice in environmental matters under Framework Contract ENV E.4/FRA/2016/0003.

CEP is part of a team led by Milieu Ltd who are carrying out this project. Based on an evaluation of the performance of the current system of EU implementation of the Aarhus Convention in the area of access to justice in environmental matters, and a detailed assessment of possible options, the study should enable the Commission to decide how best to go forward in order to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Aarhus Convention by the EU.  The study is part of the Roadmap published by the Commission in May 2018 on the implementation of the Aarhus Convention in the area of access to justice in environmental matters.  

Dr Clare Twigger-Ross from CEP is providing expert input into the assessment of social impacts of the current situation as well as future options. The project started in October 2018 and is due to finish in May 2019.

Please contact Dr Clare Twigger-Ross (Technical Director) for more information.

CEP’s Ric Eales visiting the 'Engage with Strathclyde' Event

CEP’s Ric Eales will be at the ‘Engage with Strathclyde’ event this week as part of his role as a Visiting Professor at the University

strathclyde logo.png

Ric Eales, CEP’s Managing Director, will be at the Engage with Strathclyde event this week – the University of Strathclyde’s flagship programme of events taking place over one week (29th April – 3rd May 2019).  The event is an opportunity for industry, the public and third sector to find out more about the University’s world leading research and how they can collaborate in a variety of ways.

Ric will be attending in his capacity as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.  He will in particular be visiting an event Showcasing Projects with Industry - Protecting and Enhancing the Environment.  He will also be meeting with students to discuss career opportunities in environmental consultancy.

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

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)