Author Archives: Green Alliance blog

Brexit or not, Britain will still be a global pioneer on the environment

5860924394_6fe437582a_oThis post is by Andrew Sells, chairman of Natural England, and is a response to the recent post by Lord Chris Smith

I very much welcome Lord (Chris) Smith’s return to the environmental fray in his recent blog. He knows better than most the politics of the environment and the delicate relationship between central government and public bodies. Read more

Agriculture at a crossroads… again

cowsThis post is by Tom Lancaster, senior land use policy officer at RSPB.

If you do a Google search for ‘agriculture at a crossroads’ you’ll see that it’s a well used term. But when considering the implications of Brexit for farming and land use, it feels more relevant now than ever before.

Leaving the European Union will be one of the most defining events for farming and the environment in living memory. Whilst there are many potential pitfalls, the UK’s exit from the EU also presents an opportunity to rethink how the country can secure more sustainable farming and land use for people and the environment in the years and decades ahead.

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As we leave the EU we must plan for nature’s recovery

1031572This post is by Ali Plummer, wildlife law campaigner at The Wildlife Trusts.

Over the coming months and years, as the UK government begins the task of negotiating exit from the European Union, we have a rare and historical moment to ask ourselves – what kind of country do we want to live in?  As the negotiations continue, there is the risk that these questions become lost in the seemingly abstract and inaccessible language of trade and commerce, and the moment is lost. But there is a way to recapture the moment: through considering our natural environment, whose fate – and by extension ours – is very much entwined with the future of our relationship with the EU. Read more

How to keep up UK leadership on clean energy and climate after Brexit

21922973089_14ba3e7815_kThis post is by Jonathan Gaventa, director of E3G.

The UK has made significant progress in clean energy and emissions reductions in recent years, with greenhouse gas emissions now 38 per cent below 1990 levels. But Brexit raises questions about how this progress will be continued.

In principle, it should be both possible and desirable for the UK to emerge from the Brexit process with just as strong a position on climate and clean energy as before.

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Solutions to air pollution have to work for everyone

transport_blogThis post is by Helen Hayes MP for Dulwich and West Norwood.

It’s estimated that toxic air pollution from diesel vehicles in London is responsible for over 9,000 premature deaths a year, and it disproportionately affects school children and the most vulnerable members of our communities. Brixton Road, in my constituency, exceeded its annual air pollution limit just five days into 2017. The Mayor of London has made the battle against this invisible killer a top priority for his term and has succeeded in getting it onto both the national and local political agendas. Read more

Can energy efficiency deliver on its promises?

Glowing lightbulb illuminating other onesThis post is by Paul Brockway, research fellow at the University of Leeds. He examines roles and relationships between energy, economy and society  as part of UKERC’s research programme.

Energy efficiency is often seen as a win-win: falling energy use benefits consumers and the environment, whilst it also allows the economy to grow. However, our recent research into energy rebound or ‘take back’ (when energy efficiency can be cancelled out by changes in people’s behaviour) suggests it may hamper the effectiveness of policy aimed at reducing energy use and its associated carbon emissions. Read more

We must tell the truth to safeguard the environment

7220178646_40acaa8401_kThis post is by Lord Chris Smith, who was chair of the Environment Agency from 2008-14.

One of the most distressing things about the prospect of Brexit is the impact it could have on the range of environmental protections we currently have in Britain. Virtually every piece of safeguarding we have – of habitats, sea water and rivers, of air quality and against polluting emissions, of agricultural quality and cross boundary impacts – derives from European directives and common European policy. Many of these are already enshrined in UK law, of course, and the so-called Great Repeal Bill that will supposedly transpose everything into domestic legislation will, perhaps at the outset, ensure this.

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Is the Supreme Court decision good for the environment?

London Supreme CourtThis post is by Viviane Gravey, lecturer in European Politics at Queen’s University Belfast. She recently co-led an expert review of the environmental implications of Brexit, funded by the UK in a Changing Europe Initiative.

The result is in: the Supreme Court has ruled that the government needs parliamentary approval, through legislation, to trigger Article 50 and start the Brexit negotiations. The Supreme Court’s judgement further found that the government need not consult the devolved administrations. The judgement is thus the least surprising of all options: in the end, the Supreme Court simply confirmed the two November rulings: the government’s loss regarding parliamentary approval in front of the High Court in London and its win regarding devolution in front of the High Court in Belfast.

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What’s the post Brexit future for farming in the UK?

8062314639_373504dea0_kThis post is by Green Alliance’s chair, Dame Fiona Reynolds.

For the many people who care about the beauty of our countryside and the natural environment, this is the big question of our time. We know the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been a net negative for the environment, yet we also know that the majority of the UK’s rural landscapes will continue to be farmed. So now is the time to get some anchors in the ground about what should be the principles underpinning a new farming and food production policy, even if it’s too early to put the details in place. Read more

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