A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment; the good, the bad, and the non-committal.

On the 11th January 2018, the long awaited 25 year plan for the environment was finally published.

The Countryside, Teggs Nose Country Park, Macclesfield, Uk highlights6 on flickr.com

The 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment has been met with a mixed response by the environmental community. Its scope and ambition have been praised, both in terms of breath of issues the Plan covers and the ability for long term planning provided by the 25 year timeframe. This has set the Plan apart from previous environmental policies however, concerns have been raised that, in many instances, it does not go far enough and lacks legislative clout. We have tried to highlight the best, worst, and least certain aspects of the Plan in a summary piece that can be downloaded from the policy pages and will also be published in the next BES bulletin. We have concentrated on those issues our members might find most interesting, and on new initiatives, not those in which it is merely proposing to ‘continue support for’ or similar.

We focused on:

  • Governance and delivery of the Plan including the commitment to consult on setting up a new independent body that will monitor the Plan’s implementation.
  • Using and managing land sustainably, and the ambition to develop a UK framework for a new environmental land management system.
  • Recovering nature and enhancing the beauty of landscapes, including the development a new strategy for nature to tackle biodiversity loss, by building on England’s existing Biodiversity 2020 strategy.
  • Increasing resource efficiency and minimising environmental impacts at end of life by eliminating avoidable plastic waste by 2042.
  • Securing clean, productive and biologically diverse seas and oceans with the use of ‘science-based plans’ to manage fisheries post-Brexit and ensuring maximum sustainable yield using an ecosystem approach.

The summary is not a comprehensive list of all the ambitions of the 25 year plan for improving the environment. More was set out particularly around government’s ambitions for improving the global environment and connecting more people with the environment. However, we tried to highlight some of the key issues for the ecological community. Below, we have also highlighted the key actions the Plan aims to deliver in 2018.

The BES Policy Team will work on and contribute to as many of these actions as possible. It is clear that for many of the Plan’s goals and aspirations that the devil will be the detail of how to meet these goals, hence the engagement of BES membership with the Policy Team is key to enabling our BES input. The policy needs to hear from you, so please contact Camilla Morrison-Bell, Policy Manager, if you can contribute to any of the consultations or calls for evidence planned for 2018:

  • Consultation on a new independent body to hold government to account and a new set of environmental principles to underpin policy-making in early 2018.
  • Consultation on the third tranche of Marine Conservation Zones in the first half of 2018, with designations within 12 months of that date.
  • Consultation on a new environmental land management scheme.
  • Consultation on a new Clean Air Strategy.
  • Consultation on a National Policy Statement for water resources.
  • Call for evidence on how the tax system or charges could reduce the amount of single use plastics waste.
  • Developing and consulting in 2018/19 on a code and best practice guidance for assessing the merits and risks of species reintroduction projects.