UK’s environment industry must unite to protect future

The UK's environmental industry must match the lobbying firepower of opposing industries to strengthen government policy on environmental protection, says the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC).

The EIC has said that the de-regulatory lobby is once again on the rise and it must rally together to protect its future financial health and high environmental standards.

The EIC’s executive chairman, Adrian Wilkes told edie: “Who is lobbying for environmental industry? Our industry’s whole business is based on regulation and tax policies – but our lobbying power is limited.

“The environment is a market failure requiring remedial Government intervention and yet we do not have the same lobbying firepower as those powerful industries who, behind closed doors, are relentlessly telling coalition ministers and backbench Tory MP’s that environmental policies are unnecessary and economically damaging”.

Mr Wilkes is concerned that the industry is again under threat, not just from the recession, but from the re-emergence of industries who want environmental policy to be weakened, delayed or stopped all together.

The chairman backed the recently opposed Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) saying that it has  been a massive boost to the industry, saved money and cut energy bills.

Last month, Mr Wilkes said that the CBI repeated its call for the CRC to be scrapped, while the Engineering Employers’ Federation argued that green energy charges could lead to “carbon leakage” with companies relocating away from Britain.

He added: “Government policy on environmental protection, backed up by strong regulation, is our industry’s lifeblood – creating demand for the technologies and services that protect our environment and improve quality of life.

“But policymakers are subject to intense lobbying pressure from industries who wish to see greater deregulation. They rarely go public with their demands, but they are increasingly active in the corridors of power. And they win supporters – the Chancellor, for example, used his 2011 Autumn Statement to argue against ‘burdening’ business ‘with endless environmental goals’.

Mr Wilkes said the industry must now stand together, make its voice heard, and put to bed forever the long dead argument that there is a choice between environmental protection and economic growth.

“We must continue to lobby vigorously in favour of an environmental policy framework that will drive both the Green Economy and the UK’s transition to a low carbon, resource efficient future – and we must engage Government at every turn.”

Leigh Stringer

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