News of the week: 22nd May
Each week, Greenhouse Public Affairs provides an environmental politics news report across sectors including energy, transport and the environment. Sign up to our environmental politics weekly round-up here.
Environment and COP26
Manufacturers' association Make UK has urged the government to enable a green recovery within the manufacturing industry. New research shows that sustainability and profitability go hand in hand. Manufacturers who put sustainability at the heart of their businesses have seen real benefits from doing so in the last 12 months, with 40% reporting increased profit margins and also 30% increased competitiveness. As industry rebuilds after the lockdown, there is an opportunity for manufacturers to refocus on sustainability goals, and furthermore work with the government to deliver a green recovery. Read their full report here.
The Environmental Audit Committee has announced a new inquiry on the energy efficiency of existing homes. The UK has around 29 million homes with considerable potential to improve their energy efficiency. Consequently, homes account for 30% of energy use and around 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. Furthermore, it is one of the few sectors where emissions reductions have stalled. The Committee is therefore calling for written submissions of evidence from stakeholders. Read more about the inquiry here.
Energy UK has published a paper urging the government to harness the potential of clean energy to deliver benefits for jobs, the economy and also the environment. The paper highlights the economic contribution of the sector – which supports one in 46 jobs across the UK, and invests over £13bn per annum in delivering clean electricity – and also the potential of a sustainable and resilient decarbonised economy. Read more on the paper here.
The government is launching a new £40 million Clean Growth Fund to support green start-up companies across the UK. It aims to supercharge the development of next generation clean, low-carbon technologies. The fund could support various projects, for example: energy storage and smart grid systems, renewable heating, and ventilation technologies. Read more about the announcement here.
The Department for Transport has reportedly ‘refused to back down’ over environmental group Transport Action Network’s planned legal challenge against the government’s £27.4bn road investment plan. The activist group's application to the High Court argues that the DfT ignored environmental legislation in approving the funding plan. However, the DfT refutes this claim. It insists that the plans are "consistent with our ambitions to improve air quality and decarbonise transport". Read the DfT’s response to the planned legal challenge in New Civil Engineer here.
The Mayor of London and Transport for London have announced plans to make parts of London one of the largest car-free zones in any world capital. This can enable safe social distancing on public transport, and also help improve London's air quality. Furthermore, the plans will create additional space for social distancing when walking and cycling. This will also ensure that people who must return to work in central London can do so safely. Read the Mayor’s full plans here.
The Green Alliance has criticised the increasing gap between government promises and delivery on agricultural standards. It cites DEFRA Select Committee Chair Neil Parish MP’s amendment, which would have prevented the government from signing trade deals facilitating the import of lower standard products. It argues: “Accepting lower quality products via trade deals would simply offshore carbon emissions and also animal cruelty. The government must live up to its manifesto and therefore provide legal commitments to high standards.” View its full statement here.
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