Category Archives: Political leadership

The new Office for Environmental Protection has its work cut out

Today, the new Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) began its work in earnest. The parts of the Environment Act which give it its legal powers and functions have been brought to life. This is a major milestone as it means that significant parts of the environmental governance gap that arose when we left the EU will be addressed, although there is still unfinished business, including in Wales and on environmental principles. The journey to get to this point has not been easy, with many challenges and times of jeopardy, making this a defining moment for our environmental governance.

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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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Why 2022 needs to be the year the government delivers on climate and nature

One of the most intriguing stories of 2021 concerned Boris Johnson’s conversion from climate scepticism.

“He said his “’road to Damascus’ moment came in the early days of his premiership when he was given a climate briefing by scientists.

“‘I got them to run through it all, and if you look at the almost vertical kink upward in the temperature graph, the anthropogenic climate change, it’s very hard to dispute. That was a very important moment for me,’ he said.”

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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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Legal cases are putting the government and companies on the spot to prove their green credentials

This post is by Jessica Kleczka, policy assistant at Green Alliance.

The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), a government body appointed to ensure “maximum economic benefit from oil and gas reserves”, will be at the Royal Courts of Justice on 8 December over public payments to the fossil fuel industry.

The case is being brought by three environmental campaigners, Jeremy Cox, Mikaela Loach and Kairin van Sweeden, and is supported by the campaign group Paid to Pollute, a coalition of campaign organisations.

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UK charitable giving to environmental causes is rising, but is still a drop in the ocean

This post is by Florence Miller, director, and Patricia Cremona, programme and research co-ordinator, of the Environmental Funders Network. It was first posted on the Alliance Magazine’s blog.

After years of little change, annual giving from UK foundations for environmental work nearly doubled between 2015-16 and 2018-19, a hugely encouraging upswing.

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One year on, how has the government performed against its ten point plan?

Today marks the first birthday of the prime minister’s Ten point plan for a green industrial revolution. The plan, published during the second wave of the pandemic and in lieu of the delayed Glasgow climate summit, aimed to mobilise billions in private investment and create green jobs across the UK in home insulation, hydrogen, the natural environment and more.  

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COP26 has revealed the strengthening parliamentary consensus for global change

This post is by Joe Tetlow, senior political adviser and Robbie MacPherson, political adviser at Green Alliance.

Amongst all the noise, negotiation, spin and marching in Glasgow last week, a valuable discussion between MPs from eight parliaments across the globe took place in the COP26 Green Zone. The event, ‘Strengthening parliamentary consensus for global change’, set out how politicians from different parties and groupings have put aside many of their political differences to work towards the common goal of improving the environment.

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