Power to the people: Green Alliance calls for more public involvement in UK environmental policy
Green Alliance has launched a new strategy focused on giving citizens a greater say in the nation's green infrastructure plans.
The charity organisation and independent think tank, which celebrated its 35th anniversary last night (20 November), has also announced its new chair in the form of the National Trust's former director general Dame Fiona Reynolds.
The new 2015-18 strategy commits the Green Alliance to 'put the public back into public policy'; calling on all the Government to make policy-making less technocratic and championing greater public involvement in the big decisions about the future of the UK's green economy. (Scroll down for full strategy).
At an anniversary party in central London, Green Alliance director Matthew Spencer said: "Good green policy makes Britain healthier and happier, but it will become more unstable and less investable if politics continues to lose public confidence. One way to stop the rot is to give the public a proper chance to participate in the debate about what we want from new infrastructure, and to do so at city and county level.
"We need new public transport, sustainable housing and clean energy generation. But these can't be delivered by Whitehall alone. We have to put the public back into public policy and give more people a stake in the outcome."
Under the current political system, the Green Alliance argues that no party involves people effectively in plans to build major new energy, housing and transport schemes. Under the coalition, decisions are taken by a minister, with recommendations from the Planning Inspectorate. Labour has proposed a new National Infrastructure Commission of specialists, which would produce a 25-year infrastructure plan to be approved by Government.
This new strategy therefore commits the Green Alliance to: -
Make the case for the public to have a bigger stake in a greener economy by supporting greater local powers, and better access to the benefits of green infrastructure through a green ISA run by the Green Investment Bank.
Support the next generation of leaders by setting up a 'Next Generation Council' to allow new and young leaders to debate the key risks with decision makers from business, NGOs and politics.
Set up a natural environment programme by extending its policy research programme to help combat the failing health of natural systems and the decline of wildlife.
New Green Alliance chair Reynolds replaces Robin Bidwell, who is stepping down after six years in the role. Reynolds said: "I've always admired Green Alliance for its intelligent positioning of the environmental case, incredible contacts and ability to reach the decision makers with persuasive and articulate arguments.
"I'm delighted to be taking over as chair of Green Alliance as it launches its ambitious new strategy to shape the next era of policy-making."