Environment experts present ‘policy menu’ for next UK Government

A new air-quality strategy, water conservation in fracking and a plan to treat energy as an ecosystem are all on the 'policy menu' launched this week by the Society for the Environment (SocEnv).

SocEnv is a non-profit body that licences institutions to award the Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) qualification. It has gathered 48 environmental policy suggestions for the next Government, with input from 12 professional bodies, including IEMA, the Energy Institute and ICE.

Key points

– The Energy Institute proposed treating the energy grid as an ecosystem, in which every element is interdependent; with people at the heart.

The report suggests: “To effectively engage the public, there is a need for a strong narrative communicating the benefits of low carbon technologies and the value of collective action.

“When people are informed, they make good choices. This is a time of rapid technological change and the UK must find better ways to make low carbon technology financeable.”

– The Government urgently needs a new Air Quality Strategy, according to the Institution of Environmental Sciences & Institute of Air Quality Management.

Poor air quality accounts for around 5% of premature deaths in the UK, according to the report, but “is hardly on the Governments radar”.

It argues that: “The real elephant in the room is road traffic. Technological fixes have failed for diesel vehicles, and their use in our towns and cities needs to be reduced. This may mean reducing traffic, diverting it away from residential areas, implementing low emission zones that adequately restrict diesel vehicles, and reducing fiscal incentives for diesel cars. 

“Currently there is no Government strategy to improve air quality. This needs to be urgently addressed by the new government. This should include new regulation, fiscal incentives and public education initiatives to improve air quality and properly protect human health.”

– Long-term flood risk management is vital according to Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, the Landscape Institute and the Institute of Water

According to the report, the next Government must develop long-term, more strategic planning for flood risk management over a period of up to 25 years to help inform decision making and the prioritisation of approaches and measures.

It should also start on a comprehensive programme of retrofitting property level protection homes and other buildings at high flood risk.

The ‘policy menu’ – click the image for the full report

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