25 year plan

We have looked at energy efficiency (December 2007, March 2015 and October 2017), protected species (February 2017), planning (August 2016), flooding (August and December 2013) and the birds and the bees (October 2008).  The amount of legislation attaching to the environment becomes more and more extensive but clearly has not ended yet.

The leaving of the EU has prompted the Government to take a long term view of the UK’s natural environment and has published a 25 Year Environment Plan.  In her Foreword, the Prime Minister confirms “When the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, control of important areas of environmental policy will return to these shores.  We will use this opportunity to strengthen and enhance the protections our countryside, rivers, coastline and wildlife habitats enjoy, and develop new methods of agricultural and fisheries support which put the environment first.”

In a summary of the Government’s goals and targets, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), looks at how it will produce clean air and water, assist plants and wildlife to thrive, reduce the risks from environmental hazards, use resources more sustainably and efficiently, conserve and enhance the beauty of the UK’s natural environment, mitigate and adapt climate change, minimise waste, manage exposure to chemicals and enhance biosecurity.

No one would doubt the need for such aims but those currently suffering from, for instanc, coastal erosion in such places as the Isle of Wight, Norfolk and Yorkshire, from tree cutting council programmes in such places as Sheffield and reduced rubbish collections by many local authorities, may doubt the effectiveness of such plans.

Actions not words might be the phrase upon which to concentrate but perhaps the proposals re money-back schemes on handing in plastic bottles might be, at the very least, indicative of things to come.  The Prime Minister has promised “By implementing the measures in this ambitious plan, ours can become the first generation to leave [the] environment in a better state than we found it and pass on to the next generation a natural environment protected and enhanced for the future.”  Only time will tell.

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