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What are the manifestos promising on the environment?

14749841802_5d8c28456f_kNext Tuesday for the first time in this election campaign, the public will get the chance to put questions directly to the major parties on their ambitions and aims for the environment in the next parliament at the Greener UK Hustings.

The debate will include issues like air quality and pollution, nature protection, international leadership, farming and fisheries, climate change and, perhaps most pertinently, what the UK’s exit from the EU will mean for all of the above. Read more

Why it’s worth taking the party manifestos seriously

open bookHave you spent the last four years “fired up to play your part in the nation’s future”? No? You didn’t accept your invitation from David Cameron to join the government of Britain? Is that because you wanted “a future fair for all” offered by Gordon Brown?

Or perhaps you didn’t spot the sunny uplands on offer at the last election because you didn’t read the manifestos. Most people don’t. If they are remembered at all it tends to be for the promises not met, rather than the policies delivered. In this context and against the backdrop of public disillusionment with Westminster politics that I want to persuade you that manifestos really do matter. Read more

We should be supporting the National Trust not bashing it for exploring our history

There were a couple of charity stories in newspapers over the weekend. First, NCVO and Nottingham Trent University reported that 39 per cent of charities had deteriorating finances. Shop and visitor income is down; events have been cancelled; several months of face to face fundraising were lost during the lockdown. At the same time, 56 per cent expected a rising demand for their services. The minister for civil society accepts that some charities might have to close. Many will struggle to meet demand for their services.

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Chris Packham: don’t just moan, stand and be counted

chris packhamThis week, we interviewed the naturalist, nature photographer and author, Chris Packham, about his Walk for Wildlife which will take place in London on Saturday 22 September.

Q. The Walk for Wildlife is a great initiative but why are you doing it now? Why this moment?

I, and many others, have reached a critical point of frustration. We know from the State of Nature report that many habitats and species are in decline. I’m armed with an enormous repository of statistics which I felt I had normalised, and they were just going up. Every time a new survey is done the figures get worse. I sensed that it wasn’t just me feeling this way. There is a general groundswell of people thinking “we have to do something now”. Read more

A strategy to solve air inequality and keep Britain moving

leedsThis post is by Stephen Heidari-Robinson, former energy and environment adviser to David Cameron.

Unlike smog, today’s air pollution is an invisible killer: according to the Royal College of Physicians, 40,000 Britons die from it each year, twenty times the number killed in road accidents. Children are the most vulnerable: research suggests that their long term health and learning both suffer. Read more

Is business deregulation putting environmental safeguards at risk?

big ben and tree

This post is by Donal McCarthy, an economist at the RSPB with a special interest in regulatory reform and its implications for the environment. He recently co-authored a report assessing the performance of voluntary (ie self-regulatory or co-regulatory) alternatives to regulation in delivering on public policy objectives.

Over recent years, political concerns about the costs of regulation to business have risen in prominence, with accusations that rules, such as those protecting rare species and habitats, are placing ridiculous costs on business and the wider economy.

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David Cameron must now lead a green Conservative government

David Cameron_2_No10sourceThis post is by Ben Goldsmith, founder of green investment business WHEB and chairman of the Conservative Environment Network. It first appeared in The Spectator.

Those on the left tend to think that British Conservatism is a derivative of US Republicanism. But environmental policy shows that it’s a far more pragmatic mix. The latest Conservative manifesto encompasses George W Bush’s marine conservation ambition and Obama’s selective interventions to raise the pace of clean technology innovation.  This partly reflects the fact that the environment is still a largely non-partisan issue in British politics, but also that Cameron has protected discrete space for Conservative modernisers to bring forward new green ideas. As one of them I’m pleased with the progress we’ve been able to make. The manifesto commits our party to making ‘almost every car a zero emissions vehicle by 2050′, it reconfirms support for the Climate Change Act and promises to set up a ‘blue belt’ of massive international marine reserves. Read more

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