The prime minister’s environment speech must herald a shift to restore nature

Tomorrow, Theresa May will deliver a major speech on the environment, it will be the first keynote environment speech delivered by a British prime minister since Tony Blair did so in 2000. David Cameron might have hugged huskies in the Arctic but, in practice, the environment as a whole was not a top priority for him (although he did address

What Heidegger and astronauts tell us about the 25 year environment plan

This article was originally published on WWT’s website. Here’s an idea (which I’ve borrowed from the German philosopher, Heidegger): nature challenges us. History shows us that we humans have devised, over the centuries, more and more ingenious technologies, which have enabled us to live longer, more interesting lives. In doing so, we have challenged nature, transforming it to meet our

Why is the environment missing from the Brexit plan?

The prime minister laid out her “comprehensive and carefully considered� Brexit plan this week, pledging to bring as much certainty and clarity to each stage of the Brexit process as possible. It was perplexing, then, that the environment was not mentioned once during her 45 minute speech. Significant questions remain about the future of the UK’s environmental protections and how

Prospects for a green Brexit, six months on from the referendum

Uncertainty filled the air like thick fog on 24 June, 2016 as the result of the EU referendum began to sink in. Green Alliance, along with other environmental organisations, had done its homework, scoping out the likely implications of different scenarios: an overwhelming vote to leave or remain, or a close call either way. That day, we found ourselves dealing

Why the IN campaign is bringing out the big (green) guns

The Prime Minister’s latest intervention in the EU referendum campaign illustrates how the environment is taking its place in the modern political canon. Speaking from the RSPB’s Rainham Marshes nature reserve, Cameron noted how our EU membership underpins crucial environmental … Continue reading →

What a certain old lady can teach us about energy policy

Do you remember the old lady who swallowed a fly? Her chosen remedy – to swallow a spider in hope of catching the fly – unfortunately made things worse: said spider wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her. She dealt … Continue reading →

The North wants clean energy to power the Powerhouse

The Northern Powerhouse: everyone’s talking about it, but no one’s quite sure what it is, or where it is, for that matter. Is it Manchester, where the phrase was first aired? Or all the northern cities, mapped out in a … Continue reading →

Eight things you need to know about renewables ahead of the Budget

1. Renewables are a UK success story. They have rapidly increased as a proportion of UK electricity supply since 2010. 2. Investment in renewable electricity has been growing, with the offshore wind sector alone attracting an estimated £9.5 billion between 2010 … Continue reading →

How the great British weather can help to bridge the renewables gap

The climate for renewable technologies in the UK has been notably inclement lately, ever since the summer’s soggy policy announcements resoundingly dampened investors’ and businesses’ enthusiasm. Now, even the usually resilient edifice of government is leaking. Yesterday, a private letter … Continue reading →

Scotland starts to ask the big infrastructure questions

Working on UK climate and energy policy in our office in London, it’s easy to regard with envy the politics north of the Scottish border. The Scottish government has adopted far more ambitious targets than the UK as a whole, … Continue reading →

Why technology needs the friction of politics

A version of this post first appeared on The Guardian’s Political Science blog. The headquarters of Google in Mountain View, California is a confusing blend of the laid back, hi-tech, over achieving image the company likes to cultivate, mixed with … Continue reading →

Policy needs poetry: what the humanities bring to policy making

A version of this post was first published on the Guardian’s Political Science blog. Poets don’t often pop up at infrastructure conferences. But a few months ago, at a debate for infrastructure developers and policy makers, I began my remarks by … Continue reading →

How to involve the public properly in infrastructure planning

Until just a few years ago, it would have been strange to hear environmentalists calling for new infrastructure. Put those two nouns together, and they’d have brought to mind images of unwashed protestors in trees. But climate change has overturned … Continue reading →