News of the week: 15th May
Each week, Greenhouse Public Affairs provides an environmental politics report across sectors including energy, transport and the environment. You can also sign up to our environmental politics weekly round-up here.
Environment and COP26
The Committee on Climate Change has written to the Prime Minister suggesting six principles for a climate-resilient economic recovery. The committee says reducing greenhouse gas emissions and climate adaptation is also integral to the UK’s recovery. Furthermore, the letter’s suggestions include: using climate investments to support the economic recovery; leading a shift towards positive long-term behaviour; tackling the wider ‘resilience deficit’ on climate change; and ensuring the recovery does not ‘lock-in’ greenhouse gas emissions or increased climate risk. The full letter can also be found here.
Darren Jones MP has been elected as the new Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee. This follows former chair Rachel Reeves’ promotion to the Shadow Cabinet in April. On his appointment, Jones said: “As we start to transition from lock down, consider the best approaches to our recovery and continue to provide international leadership on climate change, I also look forward to working cross-party to provide a voice for businesses, workers, and consumers to meet these challenges.” Read more about his appointment here.
The Northern Ireland government has launched a new air quality app, providing real-time data to help protect people’s health. Northern Irish Environment Minister, Edwin Poots, is behind the initiative. The free Air app also provides tailored air quality information to help people make more informed decisions about outdoor activities. Read more about the app here.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP has announced a new £2 billion package for cycling and walking infrastructure, to relieve pressure on public transport. The first stage of package is a £250 million emergency active travel fund. This will then enable the creation of pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and bus-only corridors. In addition, plans include 150 miles of cycle track in Manchester, and a “bike Tube” network above London Underground lines. More about the announcement is also available here.
A ground-breaking trial will enable e-scooters to appear on streets in West Midlands. If successful, the trial could revolutionise the way people travel whilst also bolstering the fight against climate change. Transport West Midlands will now work to test the technology and understand the benefits of this new form of transport. Read more about the trial here.
An amendment to the Agriculture Bill by Neil Parish MP (Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee) calling for higher food standards and more sustainable and nature-friendly farming practices, has been defeated in the House of Commons. However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak mistakenly joined a Tory rebellion, to vote in favour of the amendment, which lost by 51. You can also read about the vote in Huffington Post here.
The Environmental Audit Committee has announced a session exploring hydrogen production, distribution and potential application. Following £160 million of government investment into hydrogen projects, the Committee will now consider opportunities to maximise hydrogen development. It will also seek to produce ‘green hydrogen’ using electricity generated from offshore wind. More details about the evidence session can also be found here.
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