The Trade Bill is an opportunity for MPs to ‘take back control’ and protect the environment

INTEXT-CATTLEThis post is by David Lawrence, senior political adviser at the Trade Justice Movement. 

The UK has not had the power to strike its own trade agreements for nearly 50 years, due to EU membership. However, many people – and indeed many MPs – will be surprised to learn that, even after Brexit, parliament will have virtually no say over our trade agreements. Read more

Good planning is vital to green recovery and tackling the biodiversity crisis

intext-badgerThis post is by Simon Marsh, head of nature protection at RSPB.

“Build, build, build”. If that means building quality homes in the right places with wildlife-rich green space on the doorstep, who could object? But with rumours swirling that speeding up the planning system means cutting back vital environmental protections, and with radical planning reforms proposed, it’s time to speak up for good planning. Read more

Conservation isn’t yet at the heart of Conservatism in this ‘New Deal’

small owlThe prime minister has announced an ‘infrastructure revolution’, as he promises to put jobs and infrastructure at the heart of the government’s economic growth strategy. Drawing comparisons with Roosevelt’s New Deal, the government promises to ‘unite and level up’ the country. Infrastructure projects are to be accelerated, with a National Infrastructure Strategy and wider reforms promised later this year. Read more

The shovels are ready but are we digging ourselves deeper into trouble?

boris in hard hatIn his memoirs, Tony Blair is scathing about environmental NGOs: “Because their entire raison d’etre is to get policy changed, they can hardly say yes, we’ve done it, putting themselves out of business…. Balance is not in their vocabulary. It’s all ‘outrage’, ‘betrayal’, ‘crisis’.” Ed Balls expressed similar concerns to the Institute for Government in 2016. Green NGOs, he said, “were very sceptical about government. They found it very hard to support and push.” Rather than opening up space for the government to move into, they killed off good plans because they were not perfect. Read more

Boris is right that speed matters, but it’s a green recovery that we need fast

Man installing solar panelsIf the reports in the Sunday papers this weekend were true, then tomorrow the prime minister will set out his vision for how the UK government plans to respond to the serious and grave threats facing the economy as the global pandemic continues.

It will also be the first time since the lockdown in March that the government has had the chance to put climate and nature back on top of its agenda. The need to do so could not be more urgent. Read more

Now is the time to really put the ‘green’ into the green recovery

small-green-spaceThis is a joint piece by Tony Juniper, chair of Natural England, Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency and Sir William Worsley, chair of the Forestry Commission.

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic on our society and economy have been profound and will leave a lasting legacy. While the outbreak of the virus was a great shock to our system, the legacy it leaves is much more within our control. Read more

The UK risks old fashioned trade deals that completely ignore the environmental crisis

dave-sandoval-bHjmU1SRzTg-unsplash (1)This post is by Tom West, UK environment lead at ClientEarth.

Where does your stuff come from? It’s a classic environmental refrain to consider the origin of the clothes you wear, the food you eat and all the general stuff you accumulate. So the UK government’s ambitions to sign new trade deals and open our markets to new goods from around the world is really very relevant to those who care about how things are made. Read more

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