Category Archives: Europe

First year verdict: how much progress has the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan made?

Green plastic bottles on the conveyor belt at the plantIt is now just over a year since the European Commission published its Circular Economy Action Plan, with the bold aim of abandoning the old make-use-dispose economy in favour of ‘closing the loop’ and keeping resources in circulation.  To mark this milestone, the Commission has just published its first annual report, reviewing its progress in implementing the plan.

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The EU’s ecodesign policy has a PR problem

Slice of burnt toast in a toaster machine

Toasters have been in the news again this week, with more controversy, and more delays to the long awaited ecodesign working plan from the European Commission.

The plan will cover the next group of energy related products to be given an innovation boost through ecodesign policies, which drive up energy efficiency standards, rewards market leaders and takes inefficient products off the market. Ecodesign has been one of the EU’s most successful policies: it is already saving each European household €330 per year, and will deliver 40 per cent of the EU’s 2020 energy savings target. Read more

A green ‘people’s home’? Reflections on climate politics in Sweden

28937424213_1e0d89d2f8_zThis post is by Green Alliance associate Rebecca Willis. It was first posted on her blog.

When the going gets tough in UK politics, it’s tempting to look to Scandinavia for inspiration. Those ex-Vikings seem to have mellowed into a peaceful, consensual bunch, quietly doing the right thing on social policy and environmental protection. Or so we believe. But what’s the truth behind the stereotype? I recently spent a month in Sweden, and while I’m still no expert, I had a lot of interesting conversations about Swedish politics – so here are my reflections.

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Hard Brexit may have unpalatable consequences for UK agriculture

Credit-National-Trust.jpgThis post is by Patrick Begg, rural enterprise director at the National Trust.

At last week’s Conservative conference we saw and heard yet more evidence of Theresa May’s innate pragmatism. We’re to transpose all EU legislation, including those related to nature and the wider environment, into UK Law, buying us time to consider what we want, don’t want and what can be improved. It also keeps the show on the road and sustains current levels of protection at a time when uncertainty could have eroded confidence and the authority of those regulations.  This sounds sensible and is probably the best we could have hoped for.

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The ‘great repeal bill’, the environment and the washing machine

washing mashines in appliance store

The government’s ‘great repeal bill’ will transpose all current EU law into domestic British law upon the UK’s exit from the EU. Theresa May has promised that the UK will “no longer [be] part of a political union with supranational institutions that can override national parliaments and courts.” The plan is to ‘cut and paste’ current EU rules into UK domestic law.

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What the great repeal bill means for the government’s environment plans

Houses of Parliament in LondonTheresa May’s speech at the Conservative Party conference last weekend put the UK’s environmental future into a holding pattern. Her announcement that through a ‘great repeal bill’ all current EU law and regulations would be transposed into UK law, means that, like an airplane, the UK can circle for a little longer above the complexity of its changing relationship with the EU.

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From the rose garden to the referendum: six years leading Green Alliance

PDW_6349.jpgRunning Green Alliance often feels like bare back horse riding. It requires a constant appetite for danger, good balance and lots of trust. You don’t have the padding of a large public membership to keep you stable, but if you channel the support and ideas of the sector you get an exhilarating ride. Read more

Brexit is the chance for the UK to inspire the world on environment policy

Kingfisher, Alcedo atthisThis post is by Richard Benwell, head of government affairs at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT).

Last week Matthew Spencer proposed a new British Environment Act to fill the legislative lacuna left by Brexit and set ambitious new environmental standards. He is not alone in calling for a new law.

Last year, a coalition led by RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts proposed a Nature and Wellbeing Bill, which was adopted in the Green Party and Liberal Democrat general election manifestos. ClientEarth has captured the public imagination with a call for a new Clean Air Act. And the Natural Capital Committee, the government’s advisers on nature and economics, say that investing in natural wealth needs legislative underpinning. Read more

Prime Minister May needs a bold plan to protect Britain’s environment post Brexit

British landscape in SummerBritain may be a divided nation but the environment is one thing we all still share. The loss of 40 years of EU environmental agreements will have a detrimental effect on the quality of our rivers, our fields and our lungs. Want to develop a new container port on that estuary? Wait for the European habitat law to go and then you only have to convince the Treasury to overrule guidance by Natural England. Live in an air pollution hotspot? Move out or suck it up, because current British legislation won’t protect you. Read more

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