This post is by Donal McCarthy, senior policy officer at the RSPB and co-ordinator of the Greener UK ‘Brexit and Devolution’ working group.
From the coverage surrounding the launch of the UK government’s long awaited 25 year environment plan last week, one could easily have been forgiven for thinking it set out a long term strategy for restoring nature across the four UK nations. In fact, most of its proposals will only apply to England and, to a more limited extent, the UK Overseas Territories.
No vision for collaboration between UK nations
Since the late 90s, most areas of environmental policy have been devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As such, the new plan largely focuses on those aspects of environmental policy reserved to the UK government. Read more
The general election may be the immediate focus of political commentary, but elections in six city regions will bring an important new tier of political decision making to England that will be worth watching. The election of new metro mayors will unlock the devolution of powers and budgets to the city region level, giving Westminster the confidence to hand power down.
This first appeared in Breakthrough Birmingham: outputs from the UK Green Building Council city summit 2016.
If you despair about the lack of sustainability leadership from Westminster, you may have higher hopes for what city leaders can achieve. London’s mayoral candidates are currently competing to be greener than each other. We haven’t seen this in national politics since 2010 when Cameron ran for election on an explicitly green ticket. But that’s the rub. It proved only a short term boost to UK sustainability. So, are green promises from city leaders likely to be any longer lived? Read more
This post is by Steve Connor, founder of Creative Concern, a sustainability communications agency based in Manchester. He is also a trustee of the Community Forests Trust. He writes here in a personal capacity.
When he wasn’t being a Dharma Bum with the rest of the Beats, the poet Gary Snyder had a thing or two to say about the state of the environment and our need to tread lightly upon the Earth. Read more
This post is by Sarah Newton, the Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth.
Last July, Cornwall was the first county to sign a devolution deal with central government, giving Cornwall Council, NHS Kernow and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) greater control over how the county’s taxes are spent and our local public services are run. The deal is a great opportunity to improve the health and well-being of people in Cornwall, and to grow our economy sustainably. The questions are how we can use the deal to our best advantage and, in relation to issues like climate resilience and extreme weather, whether Cornwall has the answers to its own problems. Read more
This post has been written by Amy Mount of Green Alliance and Andrew Wescott of the Institute of Civil Engineers. It first appeared on the ICE blog
In the run up to the general election, there was a clamour of calls for a more strategic national approach to infrastructure planning, in expert reports, workshops, and conference speeches. In this context, ‘strategic’ means long term and evidence based, with measures to shape demand as well as the supply of big kit, and considering green alongside ‘grey’ infrastructure. Read more
A version of this post first appeared on BusinessGreen.
The 21st century has been widely heralded as the century of the city. 2008 was the tipping point when half of all people lived in urban areas for the first time. This gives cities power, and city governments are asserting their role as international leaders: just compare the ambition and commitments to combating climate change of global city networks like the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group with the lacklustre efforts of their host nations (fingers crossed for Paris 2015 though). Read more