Tag Archives: Defra

How to improve the balance between UK nature conservation and food production

Eurasian skylark. Skylark seated in a rape field.This post is by Claire Feniuk, land use policy officer at the RSPB.

If Brexit has taught us anything, it’s that people don’t like compromise, they really much prefer to have their cake and eat it. This week, I was invited to join a panel discussion at a Defra Evidence event hosted by the Royal Society, to give my thoughts on the trade-offs between nature conservation and food production. 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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Boris’s big failure: why is London still killing its citizens?

Emissions of a starting diesel engineA 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

The story of the voles, the ditch and the prime minister

A little wild water vole eating some juicy blackberries looking at the cameraThis post is by conservationist and blogger Miles King. A version first appeared on his blog.

Those who believe that nature is important and that, for it to be better protected from the activities of people, the best approach is to gather evidence – scientific evidence – analyse it and present it to those in power, should heed this story. Read more

The plan to tackle UK air pollution won’t be enough to protect health

air pollution over LondonThis post is by Professor Martin Williams of the Environmental Research Group at King’s College London. He was previously chairman of the Executive Body of the UNECE Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution.

At this time of year it’s customary to present awards for achievements over the previous year. If there was an award for Air Pollutant of the Year then nitrogen dioxide would surely win. Read more

Why government spending decisions need to account for nature

lapwing - credit marie haleThis post is by Richard Benwell,  parliamentary programme manager at RSPB and director of communications at Westmill Solar Co-operative.

If you’ve been following the to and fro of international financial markets over recent weeks, like me you might have been amazed by how ephemeral and unpredictable financial wealth can be. Not so the economic wealth that underlies those markets. While trade, production and employment are influenced by turns of confidence, and even luck, they all depend on people and assets. Read more

Five items for the next PM’s in tray

Big Ben & Houses of ParliamentThis article features in the latest issue of Green Alliance’s journal Inside Track which focuses on priorities for the next parliament.

The fog surrounding the next government’s priorities couldn’t be thicker. We are heading into an election that no one can call, with a possible EU referendum that could obscure all other issues. Nevertheless, it is useful to consider what, in normal weather, the political landscape would look like, and what will be in the next PM’s in tray irrespective of the party they represent.

At Green Alliance we have identified five areas of action which we think will be central to successful green outcomes in the next parliament and which we would expect ministers to resolve within a year of coming to power: Read more