This blog was first posted on Business Green.
Amidst a flurry of ‘end of term’ announcements, and on what could be his last day in office, Environment Secretary Michael Gove yesterday set out the government’s ambitions for the full Environment Bill. 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
Last week, Green Conservatism came of age. The Conservative Environment Network launched a manifesto, supported by 41 MPs including senior backbenchers and members of newer intakes. This is significant because, at this time, it seems that parliament agrees on very little. But it is also significant as it is bursting with solutions to the environmental crisis and is a positive statement of intent on what can and must be done to preserve and restore our planet for future generations. Read more
In her Mansion House speech in March 2017 the prime minister said “As we leave the EU we will uphold environmental standards and go further to protect our shared natural heritage”. But her speech yesterday appears to ignore the government’s commitments to improve and not just maintain standards.
On the face of it the commitment that “there will be no change in the level of environmental protection when we leave the EU” should be reassuring as the government has repeatedly said that standards will not be weakened by Brexit. But no change infers no improvement which, when facing an environmental crisis, seems very wide of the mark. Read more
It’s hard to ignore the findings and recommendations of the hard-hitting global assessment of nature led by the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Its stark finding is that nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history and the health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. Read more
This post is by Daniel Johns, head of public affairs, Anglian Water Services Ltd. It was first posted on Business Green.
We now have both the EFRA and the EAC select committee reports on the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill. Both find critical weaknesses in the proposed protections for the environment outside of the structures of the European Union. On this issue environmental organisations, parliamentarians and a range of leading business voices are entirely aligned. Read more
A cross-party group of MPs has called for the draft Environment Bill to be strengthened. The Environmental Audit Committee’s report follows its inquiry into the draft Environment Bill published in December. The committee doesn’t pull its punches and demands urgent action to plug gaps in environmental protection. Read more
This is an Inside Track long read.
One of the unexpected outcomes of the past few years’ Brexit upheaval is the environment’s rise up the government agenda. Reasons range from the cultural to the nakedly political: the public gripped by Blue Planet’s devastating images of plastic pollution and a summer of alarming wildfires from Saddleworth to Sweden; Conservative election losses attributed in part to eco-conscious millennials; and a secretary of state whose ambition and shrewdness have married happily with a long latent green sympathy. The EU referendum result prompted environmental NGOs to unite and campaign more effectively under the umbrella of Greener UK; and Brexit has demanded more parliamentary time on environmental concerns, occasions to which MPs and peers are rising with admirable aplomb. Read more
Silence where there used to be bird song. Polluted air. Plastic littered hedgerows. Less wildlife. Up and down the country people are noticing that our environment is not as healthy as it used to be. Read more
This post is by Lord Robin Teverson, chair of the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee.
Back in February 2017, our committee published the report of its inquiry on Brexit, the environment and climate change. While covering a wide range of issues, one of the key findings was the vital role that the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union play in ensuring that member states (including the UK) comply with environmental legislation. We heard evidence that the effectiveness of EU regulation was due, in part, to the deterrent effect of the power of EU institutions to hold member states to account and to levy fines upon them for non-compliance. From recycling targets, to air quality plans, to nature conservation, we heard that the threat of EU infraction had shaped the UK’s environmental policy. Read more