Category Archives: Political leadership

Just how independent will the new independent green watchdog be?

Song Thrush - Turdus philomelosThis post was first published by Business Green.

It’s by now becoming a familiar refrain: we will consult on establishing a new, independent watchdog to hold the government to account. This commitment was first proposed by environment secretary Michael Gove in November, has been repeated many times since and was encapsulated in the Defra consultation document on environmental principles and governance published on 10 May.

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The day protecting the environment became the right thing to do

red squirrel.jpgWhen first announcing the government’s plans to legislate the UK’s withdrawal from the EU the prime minister assured the nation that the same rules and laws will apply on the day after exit as on the day before and that we will have a workable, certain, continuing system of law.

This really matters for the environment as 80 per cent of our environmental laws come from the EU and EU bodies have provided a vital degree of oversight and access to justice for UK citizens.

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Why we need new maps of important local wildlife spaces to protect nature

hedgehog.pngThis post is by Stephanie Hilborne OBE, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts

Most people agree that wildlife and wild places are valuable for their own sake. We now know from research across the globe that a healthy, wildlife-rich natural world is essential for our wellbeing and prosperity. But wildlife has been getting less and less common, on land and at sea, for decades. Wild places are more scarce, smaller and more isolated. There is less nature and greenery in the places where we live and work. And not everyone has equal access to nature or the benefits it brings.

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Why the House of Lords is holding out for a strong environmental watchdog

 

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The EU (Withdrawal) Bill is being debated in the House of Lords and peers have been raising their concerns about the bill’s gaps and deficiencies. They have tabled over 100 amendments to the bill, several of which are being voted on and mostly passed.

The worry that Brexit might erode environmental safeguards has featured heavily  throughout the bill’s parliamentary passage. The environment has vied successfully with constitutional law issues for airtime. And yesterday’s debate was no different. Environmental governance and principles were discussed alongside the rights of UK citizens and a proposal to give the European Court of Justice some say over UK laws after exit day.

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How a green economy can promote growth

 

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This blog was first published by the Environmental Journal.

The UK’s economy grew by 1.7 per cent in 2017, buoyed up by the first synchronised bout of global growth since the financial crisis. Favourable global economic conditions have raised the UK’s economic output, and, although the UK is the slowest growing economy in the G7, relative economic stability has blunted some of the debate over why people feel the economy is no longer working for them. Read more

Green Brexit? Not unless the prime minister stands up to her grey ministers

gove main.jpgThe Daily Telegraph is reporting what has been an open secret for some weeks: senior Cabinet ministers are sabotaging the government’s promise of a “green Brexit”.

Before the EU forced us to act, the UK had a lousy record on many aspects of environmental policy. Remember dirty beaches, polluted rivers, acid rain? It is now essential that institutions and laws are in place when we leave the EU to prevent future governments from turning the clock back to those bad old days. But the chancellor and other senior ministers are blocking such measures. Read more

Let’s not lose sight of the big picture: “green Brexit” is impossible without force of law

Hourglass, concept of timeA year on from the prime minister’s letter invoking Article 50, the Brexit hourglass is now half full, or half empty depending on your political disposition. Optimist or pessimist, Leaver or Remainer, the fact is there is now less time for Theresa May and her enthusiastic Environment Secretary Michael Gove to deliver on their promise of a “green Brexit”. Read more

The wait is (kind of) over for a UK bottle deposit scheme

plastic bottles 3It’s been almost six months since Michael Gove made an unofficial announcement that England would soon benefit from some sort of deposit scheme, a system where a small fee is applied to drinks containers at the point of sale, which can later be reclaimed. Shortly after that unofficial announcement, the government launched a comprehensive call for evidence, which concluded in November last year. Read more

Parliament’s role in delivering a green Brexit

hop 2This post was first published by Business Green, and is written by Lord Krebs, an independent crossbench peer in the House of Lords.

The decision to leave the EU raises many fundamental questions, not least of which is how to ensure the rights and protections we currently enjoy are not lost as a result. Eighty per cent of our environmental law stems from the EU. Read more

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