This 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
This 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
We will have a new prime minister on Wednesday, almost certainly Boris Johnson, and new ministers by the end of the week. What should the environmental sector hope for? Read more
In what could be his last days as environment secretary, Michael Gove has delivered an agenda setting speech in which he lamented the catastrophic loss of biodiversity across the globe and at home, highlighting that the UK is now one of the most nature-depleted nations in the world. He drew attention to the many other environmental threats we face, including the scourge of plastic pollution, toxic air and threats to water quality. Michael Gove’s self-confessed conversion from ‘shy green’ to ‘full-throated environmentalist’ is now complete. Read more
When did Brexit become a ‘thing’, an end in itself? During the 2016 referendum campaign, Brexiteers promised a bright future for the UK outside the EU. Now, that promise has largely dwindled to delivering Brexit and fulfilling the “will of the people”, regardless of any consequences. It is as if Brexit has become a medicine we must take, even if it half kills the patient. Read more
Greener UK’s aim has always been to get the best possible environmental outcome from Brexit. We have not taken sides on how the UK should leave the EU or whether it should do so, but have focused instead on the things we can clearly influence. Read more
A little over five years ago, my daughter was born in central London, in an area where the nearest air quality monitoring station recorded particulates as having reached dangerous levels 55 times that year. When 35 bad days are exceeded, the UK falls foul of European air rules, which means it faces court cases and fines until the problem is rectified. Read more