Is the government going from green to grey?

no deal smallA month into the new government and the prospects for the environment look increasingly grim.

It is not just that a no deal Brexit now seems probable, though that is bad enough. Crashing out of the EU carries great dangers for air pollution and loss of countryside as lorries queue around our major ports. Its impact on farming could be devastating. Read more

We know throwaway culture is bad – so why is the market for bottled water growing?

bottled water small.pngThis blog was first posted on Business Green. 

We all want to do the right thing when it comes to avoiding unnecessary packaging, but when different materials have different impacts, it can be hard to choose what sort of container has the best environmental credentials. This can be as true for retailers and producers – the people putting material on the shelf – as it is for the consumer choosing what to buy. Which are better, for instance, lightweight plastic bottles that damage the marine environment when mismanaged or high carbon but highly recyclable glass bottles? What about relatively low carbon cartons that are difficult to recycle, compared to aluminium cans that create toxic waste in production but can then be recycled over and over again? Read more

Conversations at citizens’ juries are constructive, sensible and often brilliant

citizens jury featuredThis post is by Lucy Bush, research director at BritainThinks

Deliberative research has been part of policy-making in the UK since the ’90s when BritainThinks’ founding partners, Deborah Mattinson and Viki Cooke ran the first-ever UK Citizens’ Jury. This jury, commissioned in 1994 by IPPR, explored the citizens’ take on health rationing. We’ve been using deliberative methodologies at BritainThinks since we were set up over nine years ago, helping government, businesses and not-for-profits put the citizen centre-stage to revitalise the public debate and bring fresh perspectives to complex policy challenges. Read more

The next blow to throwaway culture: why we need to lose our thirst for bottled water

refillable smallLast week, in one of her first announcements as Environment Secretary, Theresa Villiers was able to share the good news that the country is breaking its single use plastic bag habit. Use of such carrier bags from large supermarkets has dropped by 90 per cent, thanks to the 5p charge brought in by the government in 2015. The precipitous fall, Villiers said, is “a powerful demonstration that we are collectively calling time on being a throwaway society”. But are the reports of the death of the throwaway society premature? Read more

A ‘can do’ attitude to environmental challenges must be part of Britain’s brighter future

natural england smallThis post is by Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency and Tony Juniper, chair of Natural England.

The prime minister was right to strike a note of optimism in his first speech to the country.

Environmental questions can seem relentlessly gloomy, with measures to cut pollution and recover the environment appearing like unaffordable sacrifices that get in the way of the real challenges. Read more

How one meeting with my constituents made me take climate change seriously

time is now smallThis post is by Gary Streeter, MP for South West Devon. It was first posted on his blog

MPs get lobbied a lot. Pretty much daily. Its part of the job and there is a growing industry set up to influence us to act in all kinds of ways and pass all kinds of laws. I can’t recall the last time a lobbying exercise persuaded me to change tack. Read more

Renegotiating the Brexit deal as if there were an environmental crisis

thermometer-4294021_1920This is an Inside Track long read.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he plans to renegotiate the Brexit deal. He has described the current deal as “dead”, for reasons I won’t go into. But there are other reasons why the deal and, in particular, the political declaration, which sketches an outline of the future EU-UK relationship, could stand some re-examination. Read more

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