Policy Papers

History & Policy papers are written by expert historians, based on peer-reviewed research. They offer historical insights into current policy issues ranging from Afghanistan and Iraq, climate change and internet surveillance to family dynamics, alcohol consumption and health reforms. For historians interested in submitting a paper, please see the editorial guidelines.

Currently, 230 papers are freely searchable by theme, author or keyword, with new papers published regularly. Where possible, we publish papers to coincide with relevant policy developments. If you are a policy maker, civil society practitioner or journalist and would like to contact one of our historians, please contact historyandpolicy@kcl.ac.uk.

You can download H&P policy papers directly from the Apple iBooks store to your iPhone, iPad or Mac. We also have an Amazon Kindle version to download to your PC for transfer to your Kindle via USB cable. Please consult your Kindle manual for further details.


Normalising bottle return and reuse: lessons from the Victorians on the limits of voluntary schemes

Parliament is examining proposals for voluntary bottle return schemes to reduce packaging waste - but Tom Licence says voluntary schemes have been tried before, and government intervention is needed

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The reservoirs that weren’t: lessons for contemporary infrastructure planning

Victorian infrastructure development is lionised today, but this interdisciplinary case study of early-twentieth century Leeds shows that the problems faced by modern projects are nothing new

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Clearing the air: can the 1956 Clean Air Act inform new legislation?

Stephen Mosley explores government response to air pollution past and present - where once chimney smoke threatened the health of the Victorian city dweller, now our biggest problem is exhaust fumes - and points to the lessons today's policy makers can learn from the Clean Air Act, in both drafting and implementation.

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Low carbon futures and high carbon pasts: policy challenges in historical perspective

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Hosepipes, history and a sustainable future

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Facing the challenge of climate change: energy efficiency and energy consumption

Paul Warde of the University of East Anglia says that restricting energy use is the only way to tackle climate change. In an analysis of four centuries of energy consumption, he warns that over-reliance on energy efficiency will not curb carbon emissions.

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Rationing returns: a solution to global warming?

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About Us


H&P is based at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, University of London.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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