Why the government’s watchdog consultation is so disappointing

At long last, the government has published its environmental watchdog and principles consultation. As stubbornly technical as it sounds, the consultation is significant. In fact, despite all the positive announcements on plastic, it is probably the most significant moment yet in the government’s recent environment drive. In outlining a plan for how laws and policy will be enforced after we

Reasons to be hopeful about new funding to tackle plastic waste in developing countries

This blog is by Joanne Green, senior policy associate at Tearfund. Last year, Maria das Gracas’ house flooded eight times. As I stood with her in her home in a favela in Recife, Brazil, she told me how her community is now sorting and collecting the plastic and waste that clogs the river running through the neighbourhood, improving people’s lives and

The day protecting the environment became the right thing to do

When first announcing the government’s plans to legislate the UK’s withdrawal from the EU the prime minister assured the nation that the same rules and laws will apply on the day after exit as on the day before and that we will have a workable, certain, continuing system of law. This really matters for the environment as 80 per cent of

Why we need new maps of important local wildlife spaces to protect nature

This post is by Stephanie Hilborne OBE, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts Most people agree that wildlife and wild places are valuable for their own sake. We now know from research across the globe that a healthy, wildlife-rich natural world is essential for our wellbeing and prosperity. But wildlife has

Why the House of Lords is holding out for a strong environmental watchdog

; The EU (Withdrawal) Bill is being debated in the House of Lords and peers have been raising their concerns about the bill’s gaps and deficiencies. They have tabled over 100 amendments to the bill, several of which are being voted on and mostly passed. The worry that Brexit might erode environmental safeguards has featured heavily  throughout the bill’s parliamentary

8 Alternatives to Plastic Wrap for a Zero Waste Win

Easy alternatives to plastic wrap for an eco-friendly, zero waste kitchen. Let’s talk about…Read the whole entry… » ; ; ; ; ; ; ;

How a green economy can promote growth

; This blog was first published by the Environmental Journal. The UK’s economy grew by 1.7 per cent in 2017, buoyed up by the first synchronised bout of global growth since the financial crisis. Favourable global economic conditions have raised the UK’s economic output, and, although the UK is the slowest growing economy in the G7, relative economic stability has

A future for farming in National Parks

  This article was originally published by the Campaigns for National Parks, and was written by David Corrie-Close, a Lake District farmer at the Horned Beef company. When I was asked to blog about my farm in the Lake District National Park and how I balance the needs of the farm with the needs of

How to build houses and save the countryside

There was much to admire in the prime minister’s recent speech on housing. Theresa May called homelessness in our rich country “a source of national shame” and she is right. She pledged to increase house building, but to do so without “destroying the country we love”. And she attacked big

Will the UK show climate leadership as head of the Commonwealth?

On the 16 April, 52 Commonwealth heads of state will gather in London for a biennial summit and the UK will become their official chair in office for the next two years. This role could have major implications for advancing global action on climate change and biodiversity loss. Opinions are divided on the merits and geopolitical influence of the Commonwealth

Why does Michael Gove want to treat farmers and water companies differently?

Michael Gove was in pugnacious form in his address to last week’s annual Water UK City Conference. Pulling no punches, his subjects included water company abuse of monopoly power, the use of offshore companies and complex financial engineering, and the privileging of shareholders at the expense of the UK’s billpayers, taxpayers and the environment. It would be no surprise if,

Is decarbonising our energy system right… or left?

It isn’t a good time to be a private provider of public services. So far, 2018 has seen the collapse of Carillion; the government intervening on the east coast mainline franchise due to imminent failure; and a public debate on the negatives of private finance initiatives. As such, it is understandable that coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s speech earlier this month

The UK should set its own green lines in the Brexit negotiations

This post is by Andy Jordan, Charlie Burns and Viviane Gravey, co-chairs of the ESRC funded Brexit & Environment network. Brexit negotiations are not just about the UK deciding what it wants.  The further negotiations advance into the second phase, the clearer it becomes that the EU will also have a very big say.  It has firm negotiating lines of

This relationship’s too good to lose. Let’s work on it in 2018 and #showthelove

It’s that time of year again when hope is in the air. The nights are getting lighter, sunlight can be felt on our skin for the first time in months, and those who believe in love can go to overpriced restaurants to watch doe-eyed couples try to eat sea

Ten things I hate about how UK recycling is (not) funded

Hatred is quite a strong emotion to feel for inanimate evidence notes intended to show that a company has paid towards recycling its packaging, but bear with me and I’ll explain what’s got me so wound up. Back in 1997, the Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) scheme was devised as the way for the UK to meet EU packaging recycling targets.

How a bit of community magic can bring Defra’s 25 year plan to life

This post is by Richard Benwell, head of government affairs at WWT. Defra’s 25 year environment plan names 2019 as ‘a year of green action’, helping people to participate in improving our natural world. It’s easy to be cynical about government reliance on community action. Surely it’s a way to hive out responsibility to the ‘big society’?  Certainly, social initiatives sometimes

Will degradable plastics really prevent marine pollution?

In our world of instant gratification, plastic has proved incredibly useful, allowing food and drink to be conveniently packaged and transported for consumption on the go, immediately satisfying our most basic of human needs. Unfortunately, if it is not handled correctly after its brief use, plastic can cause serious environmental problems, as hauntingly documented by Blue Planet II. People are

Why increasing young people’s access to nature makes electoral sense

It isn’t often that government is presented with an opportunity to seduce environmentalists, young people and mental health campaigners in one fell swoop. It’s even more unheard of that they could do it cheaply. So it’s no surprise that the evidence linking access to nature with positive mental health outcomes is gaining currency among policy makers. But to exploit this

How accountable will the government really be on the environment after Brexit?

This post is by Lewis Lloyd of the Institute for Government. The government has promised to end the direct jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the UK after Brexit, renouncing the oversight of the European Commission and the court as part of ‘taking back control’. But it is unclear how far the UK’s domestic governance structures will

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

Key points from the Committee on Climate Change’s report the Clean Growth Strategy

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) today published its analysis of the Clean Growth Strategy (CGS), the government’s blueprint for meeting the targets it is legally bound to achieve under the Climate Change Act. The analysis highlights a worrying gap (of 10-65 MTCO2e) between the government’s existing policies and commitments and the requirements set under the fourth and fifth carbon

The future of upland farming in the UK: what farmers are facing

This post is by Chris Clark of Nethergill Farm. It is the first in a short series about the options for the future of upland hill farming in the UK. With the increased uncertainty regarding the viability of hill farms, the time is now ripe for farmers to think radically about hill farm management and consider new alternatives in a

Here’s what Theresa May should now do to end plastic pollution

After years of waiting, we finally have it: this morning, Theresa May launched her government’s 25 year plan for the environment. By far the most talked about aspect of the long awaited and wide ranging strategy is the prime minister’s promise to “demonstrate global leadership” by addressing needlessly produced plastic. This will be achieved, she vowed, through action “at every