Author Archives: Green Alliance blog

There’s a lot at stake right now for England’s National Parks and AONBs

This post is by David Hampson, policy officer at RSPB and Ruth Bradshaw, policy and research manager at Campaign for National Parks.

As the saying goes, to tackle the nature and climate emergency, we need to ‘go big or go home’. Only bold action now can restore our lost and depleted wildlife and natural processes across large swathes of our countryside. And, as nature recovers it will replenish its ability to provide us with a liveable planet, with nature-rich green spaces to restore ourselves.

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More gas isn’t the answer to the gas crisis

This post is by Anthony Browne, Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire and chair of the Environment APPG.

The current energy crisis has led to calls for more gas. But the reality is that over reliance on gas has caused the upcoming squeeze on household budgets.

Eighty five per cent of British homes use gas for heating and more than a third of electricity supplies come from gas power plants. Right now, we’re exposed.

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We need new ideas about what a 21st century civil service is for

This post is by Dame Fiona Reynolds, chair of the management board of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy

The last few years have seen unprecedented challenges for modern governments, not least in the UK.  Pressures like Covid-19 (the first modern pandemic) and Brexit (disentangling sixty years of ever closer integration with the European Union), plus the growing realisation that we are not well set up to deal effectively with complex, cross cutting long term challenges like the climate and nature crises, have exposed cracks in even the best run administrations. 

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Scotland says it wants net zero but unfairly penalises micro hydro generation

This post is by Hugh Raven, managing director of Ardtornish Hydro.

Scotland, we are told by our government, is good at hydro. “We are committed to making Scotland a ‘Hydro Nation’ to bring the maximum benefit to the Scottish economy,” says the Scottish Government website. Hydro would include hydroelectricity, you might think, in a nation that provides 85 per cent of the hydropower connected to the UK grid.

The country’s topography and climate are certainly well suited. In 2020 hydro provided around a fifth of Scots’ power needs, with scope for further expansion yet. But, for that to happen, the Scottish Government needs to show some love.

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Covid has shown us the consequences of not taking systemic risk seriously

Laurie Laybourn-Langton is an associate fellow at IPPR and lead of the Cohort 2040 project.

A central lesson of the Covid-19 pandemic for environmentalism is that it needs get more serious about risk. The pandemic has proven a classic example of a systemic shock: a health crisis graduated into a financial crisis, an economic crisis, a social crisis, a political crisis and so on. Last year, worsening environmental shocks met the cascading consequences of the pandemic. The stable natural conditions in which our globalised world developed is now ending and a new era of systemic risk is emerging.

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A funding cliff edge is threatening local bus services across the country

This post is by Silviya Barrett, head of policy and research at the Campaign for Better Transport.

Buses are essential. They account for more than two thirds of all public transport journeys and are an environmentally friendly option for local trips. People with no access to private vehicles, including many younger, older or disabled people, and those on low incomes, rely on good and affordable bus services.

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What will 2021’s new transport policies mean for action in 2022?

This post is by Helena Bennett, senior policy adviser at Green Alliance.

For those of us working hard to make sure that transport, the biggest emitting sector, is fit for a low carbon world, 2021 was a year of ups and downs. Although some may think that little actual progress was made towards cutting transport emissions, the Department for Transport (DfT) did significantly change its tone and ambition, and the government is at least starting to set out how it will deliver on its climate promises in the coming years.

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Greener streets are a simple way to reduce growing health inequalities

This post is by Zoe Banks Gross, sustainable neighbourhoods programme manager at the Knowle West Media Centre in Bristol.

Sport England recently released its Active Lives Children and Young People Survey data showing that health inequalities have been exacerbated since the pandemic. Covid restrictions have resulted in lower activity levels, and the more restrictions, the lower these levels. The data also shows that children from less affluent families were the least active and that “this was particularly significant for black boys, whose activity levels fell at a starker rate than boys overall”.

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Why the government’s recent farming policy announcement got it wrong and what needs to happen next

This is a joint post by Marcus Gilleard of the National Trust, Barnaby Coupe of The Wildlife Trusts, and Alice Groom of the RSPB.

When the government made its eagerly awaited announcement about farming at the beginning of December there was a howl of disbelief from us, the UK’s three major nature charities. But why was it such a disappointment to us?

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