Author Archives: Green Alliance blog

Plans for new Rivers Authorities are flawed and threaten our environment

rivers smallThis post is by Tom Lancaster, acting head of land use policy at the RSPB.

The world of flood and coastal erosion risk management (FCERM) is complex, and at times niche. But it is something that affects the lives of millions, and will become an increasingly pressing priority as the impacts of climate change get worse.

We all have a stake in the decisions to protect communities, businesses and nature from floods, whilst making the best use of the nation’s resources. They should be debated openly, both locally and nationally. Above all, managing flood risk should take place within a long term strategic framework, rigorously assessed to ensure maximum bang for our FCERM buck. Read more

Why the chancellor’s statement could imperil UK climate ambitions

Philip Hammond smallThis post is by Dimitri Zenghelis, senior visiting fellow at the Grantham Research Institute at LSE and Green Alliance associate. It was first posted on LSE’s Grantham Institute blog. 

Chancellor Philip Hammond’s assertion that the cost of transitioning to a net zero carbon economy in the UK will exceed a trillion pounds by 2050, made in a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday, is simply incorrect. The evidence for this is set out clearly and in detail in the Report of the Advisory Group on Costs and Benefits of Net Zero for the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which was drafted by a panel of experts including a senior economist from Shell International and the chief economist of the Confederation of British Industry. Read more

Tim Beaumont: Green Alliance’s first director defined our unique purpose

Song Thrush - Turdus philomelos

This post is by Nigel Haigh, former director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy and chair of Green Alliance from 1989 to 1998.

Of all the talented directors that Green Alliance has had, Tim Beaumont – or, to give him his full title, the Reverend Lord Beaumont of Whitley – was surely the most extraordinary.  He was one of three people connected with the Liberal Party who joined with others across the political spectrum to create and launch Green Alliance in 1979.  Maurice Ash was to become its chairman, Richard Holme its treasurer, and Tim was its  ‘convenor’ or ‘co-ordinator’.  He never called himself the director, though he ran the show and gave it its sense of direction. Read more

The shackles need to come off our national parks to combat climate change

mam-tor-3600896_1920_Ian KelsallThis post is by Andrew McCloy, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority. He writes here in a personal capacity.

Melanie Haiken recently outlined the dire implications of climate change on North America’s national parks if drastic action isn’t taken soon. US parks are warming at twice the national average and, without significant action, the outlook for their fragile ecosystems and varied biodiversity is bleak. Iconic parks like Sequoia, Glacier Bay and Joshua Tree could lose their namesake features altogether. Read more

We need to change our land use practices now to solve the environmental crisis

drought small.pngThis post is by Georgina Mace, professor of biodiversity and ecosystems at University College London.

The recent UN IPBES Global Assessment on biodiversity and ecosystems exposed the dramatic decline of nature. Seventy five per cent of the land surface has been significantly altered, and among assessed groups of mammals and birds, one in four species are at risk of extinction. The average abundance of native species in most major terrestrial biomes has fallen by at least 20 per cent and land degradation has reduced productivity in 23 per cent of the global terrestrial area.

This crisis not only threatens the diversity of life on Earth. Ongoing degradation and changes to ecosystems pose further risks to people through threats to food, energy and water security, as well as being a significant driver of climate change. Read more

How the UK measures up in environmental league tables

meandering river smallThis post is by Alistair Taylor, senior policy officer at the RSPB.

You could have been forgiven for failing to notice that, on 5 April this year, a set of reports were published by the European Commission on how European Countries are performing on their environmental policies and laws. The Environment Implementation Review (EIR) reports are available for each of the 28 member states of the EU (currently including the UK). Read more

Beyond the no deal panic, we need full scrutiny of Brexit legislation

SI smallThis post is by Libby Peake, senior policy adviser at Green Alliance, and Ruth Chambers, senior parliamentary associate for Greener UK

Now the EU has granted a Brexit ‘flextension’ until the end of October, the immediate threat of no deal has subsided. In fact, the government has stood down the ‘army’ of 6,000 civil servants preparing for that contingency. But this wasn’t the only preparation being undertaken: many of the 10,000 other civil servants working on Brexit had been creating the torrent of regulations required to bring European laws into the UK legal framework. This process, comprising 10,091 pages of technical legislation (a quarter of which came from Defra), is now largely complete. So, given the breathing space, it’s timely to take stock of where this process has got to. Read more

Brexit legislation unravelling protections for UK marine life and fisheries

pipes smallThis post is by Sarah Denman, an environmental lawyer at ClientEarth

Whilst the Brexit drama plays out in parliament, the leaving process is being managed behind the scenes. As part of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the UK government has had to produce a large number of SIs (or statutory instruments) to convert the existing body of EU law into our domestic statute book and make it fit for purpose. Read more

Businesses need a better Environment Bill

canoe smallThis post is by Daniel Johns, head of public affairs, Anglian Water Services Ltd. It was first posted on Business Green.

We now have both the EFRA and the EAC select committee reports on the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill. Both find critical weaknesses in the proposed protections for the environment outside of the structures of the European Union.  On this issue environmental organisations, parliamentarians and a range of leading business voices are entirely aligned. Read more

In post-Brexit trade plans it’s all talk and no action on the environment

post Brexit trade smallThis post is by Hatti Owens, ClientEarth UK environment lawyer

From the UK’s global carbon footprint to the quality of the products we import, trade deals have real world impacts on the environment. How the UK decides its future trade policy outside the protection of the European Union is of real importance.

With some politicians and groups – such as the Institute for Economic Affairs – calling for deregulation, environmentalists might, therefore, take heart from the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, which states that “environmental sustainability should be at the very heart of global production and trade”.

It’s a lovely sentiment, but unfortunately yet to be borne out by reality. Read more

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