What will the Clean Air Strategy really do for people and nature?

This post is by Jenny Hawley, senior policy officer at Plantlife. Debate around the government’s Clean Air Strategy has been focused on whether it will cut the roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution from city traffic. But it is also supposed to take a long overdue look at other air quality issues. Since the last Air Quality Strategy in 2007, new

Green Brexit? Not unless the prime minister stands up to her grey ministers

The Daily Telegraph is reporting what has been an open secret for some weeks: senior Cabinet ministers are sabotaging the government’s promise of a “green Brexit”. Before the EU forced us to act, the UK had a lousy record on many aspects of environmental policy. Remember dirty beaches, polluted rivers, acid rain? It is now essential that institutions and laws

Has the UK really been held back by the EU on waste and resources?

Last week’s anniversary of the triggering of Article 50 was marked, as you’d expect, by many column inches and much airtime, including a BBC Radio 4 programme that caught our attention here at Green Alliance. In The Brexit lab the journalist Iain Martin explored “the opportunities for policy experimentation post-Brexit” and asked “how we could do things differently once the UK

Why we need a powerful, independent green watchdog

‘Everything’s gone green!’ declared Radio 4’s Costing the Earth last month. Presenter Tom Heap subsequently sped through Westminster, Fleet Street and places where green groups congregate, considering the rise in prominence of the environment agenda. “2018 could go one of two ways,” he concluded. “A year of delivery, or disappointment.” In the first three months of this year, the government

Clean growth should be the cornerstone of post-Brexit trade strategy

This post was first published by Business Green. The government may be wavering about the Brexit negotiations but it has, at least, been clear about its vision for Britain’s role after Brexit. Theresa May wants “us to be a truly Global Britain, best friend and neighbour to our European partners, but a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe

Will we get a Trade Bill fit for the environment?

The UK’s Trade Bill needs amending to reflect the spirit and ambition of the government’s 25 year environment plan, say Matthew Stanton of WWF-UK and Ali Plummer of RSPB.

There’s a danger UK nations will all go their own way on environment post-Brexit

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

Nature can’t wait for the Brexit timetable

This post is by Tom Lancaster, senior policy officer at the RSPB, and Marcus Gilleard, senior policy programme manager at the National Trust. For a couple of policy wonks on the Brexit front line, perspective can be hard to come by at times. So we’ve taken a few days to digest Michael Gove’s speech at last week’s Oxford Farming Conference

Was 2017 a turning point for the UK’s environment?

As we entered 2017, the UK was on edge, with the government’s plans for Brexit unclear, and the environmental dimensions of that even more so. While much remains at risk as the year draws to a close, prospects for our environment look brighter than they did 12 months ago. Crucially, the surprise general election result in June was a significant

Civil society must have a role in scrutinising the UK’s future trade policy

This post is by former MEP Michael Hindley. He is now trade policy adviser to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).  Consideration of the UK’s trading relations post Brexit has brought trade policy issues into the spotlight, and particularly trade policy formation, as never before. Free trade is the one colour the Brexiteers have nailed to their mast. Their

Three Brexit governance gaps no one is talking about

This post is by Andy Jordan, Charlie Burns and Viviane Gravey, co-chairs of the ESRC funded Brexit & Environment network. The EU has mostly exerted its influence through the medium of law and policy. For many non-experts, 29 March 2017 (when Article 50 was triggered) was the day when the risk that large parts of the UK’s environment could lose

What a ‘no deal’ Brexit could mean for the environment

Should we worry that the UK will crash out of the EU without a deal and in an atmosphere of acrimony and ill will? That was the question I recently asked Sir Ivan Rogers at his inaugural Henry Plumb Lecture for the National Farmers’ Union. His answer was not reassuring. The risk, he said, was “still quite high”. In January,

What will happen to UK chemicals policy post-Brexit?

This is an extract from a presentation given by Nigel Haigh, honorary fellow and former director of IEEP, to a recent conference ‘Post-Brexit options for UK chemicals law’, organised by Chemical Watch, techUK and CHEM Trust. A version of this piece was first posted on the Brexit & Environment blog. As a way of understanding the challenges Brexit poses in

What will Brexit mean for the UK’s trade in electricity with Europe?

This post is by Jonathan Bosch, research postgraduate at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London. The internal electricity market (IEM) is one of the major achievements of the European single market, allowing electricity to be traded and transmitted seamlessly across national borders. The UK has played a crucial role in the IEM’s development,

Who’s afraid of the ECJ? Let’s debate environmental governance

This post is by Prof Andrew Jordan and Dr Viviane Gravey, co-chairs of the Brexit and Environment network of academic experts, co-funded by the ESRC’s UK in a Changing Europe Initiative. Among the many proposals in Michael Gove’s thoughtful speech on the environment, one received less attention that we think it deserved.  It was his invitation to debate how the UK

Should we trust Michael Gove?

Should we trust Michael Gove? That’s the question lurking underneath all of the commentary about the environment secretary’s protestations of love for the planet. He gave a barnstormer of a speech at WWF’s Living Planet centre last week, declaring that marine plastics would be tackled, the ivory trade would be halted and eleven million trees would be planted.This expanded on

How to get the best possible outcome from Brexit on energy and climate

This post first appeared on BusinessGreen. At 11am, on 14 July 2017, eight per cent of UK’s total electricity demand was generated by offshore wind, more than any other country in the world. Proactive policy and industrial innovation have crafted the UK’s success story on offshore wind but another significant part of the story has been the lending from the European

Lobby Group Tied to Koch Brothers, Brexit Climate Deniers Pushes ‘Strong Pro-Corporate Agenda’

By Mat Hope A new lobby group has appeared in Europe claiming to represent “consumers.” But a closer look reveals it is actually backed by some familiar groups known for their efforts to weaken climate and environmental regulations. The Consumer Choice Centre was set up in March 2017 and was promoted as ” a grassroots-led movement ” that ” empowers consumers across the globe .” But an investigation by Brussels think tank

A border won’t be enough to control fish – only co-operation can

This post is by Griffin Carpenter, senior researcher at the New Economics Foundation. Michael Gove has purportedly shown us what ‘taking back control’ really means, by drawing a 12-mile line around the UK for exclusive fishing access for British vessels. Now he has his sights set on an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 200 miles (or the median line). On

Will the Withdrawal Bill work for the environment?

Though the triggering of Article 50 occurred just over 100 days ago, it has felt like the Great Repeal Bill has been coming for a lot longer. And this is the first big change we will have to make: the Great Repeal Bill is no more. As it passes through parliament it will now be known as the European Union

With bold environmental ideas we can make the most of a hung parliament

This post is by Richard Benwell, head of government affairs at WWT. A hung parliament, with a packed legislative agenda, blank slate of policy and limited time on the Brexit countdown clock: these are good conditions for great environmental accomplishments. Without a commanding majority, the government will need to search for areas of political unity to build political capital, like

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

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

Five very real risks to our environment from Brexit and how to tackle them

There has been little mention of the environment in the government’s Brexit priorities so far, so it may come as a surprise to hear that an estimated four fifths of all our environmental protections are covered by EU law. As the Westminster government heads towards triggering Article 50 this week, to be closely followed by the repeal bill which will