April Policy Update
Welcome to the April policy update! Firstly, I hope everyone had a lovely Easter weekend, and enjoyed the all too brief break from the dreaded ‘B’ word! As Parliament returns from recess, now is a good time to reflect on developments from the past couple of months…
The Environmental Policy Forum (EPF) – made up of leading environmental organisations and for which the Society acts as Secretariat – continues to advocate the interests of the environmental profession. Just last week Forum members were in London meeting with Officials at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). We identified mutual priorities – such as Clean Growth – and discussed the Society’s Greening the Industrial Strategy report, containing case studies with Chartered Environmentalists, and how they demonstrate the achievability of an environmentally sustainable Industrial Strategy.
Building links with Government Departments is key to ensuring the voices of environmental professionals are heard, and we are therefore also delighted that Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), will speak at the Society’s Annual World Environment Day Awards and Lectures on the 4th June, on the topic of ‘Net Gain’. Dr Coffey, whose remit at Defra includes air quality, the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, and the natural environment – including biodiversity – will be on hand to listen to the views of environmental professionals as well as providing a fascinating insider’s perspective into recent policy developments.
Elsewhere, following the EPF response to the Defra consultation earlier this year, we were very pleased to see the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announce mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain as a requirement for developments. We also continue to work with the cross-organisational Broadway Initiative to influence Government and shape the contents of the final Environment Bill.
Looking forward, the Forum will be inputting into the first four Resources and Waste Strategy consultations, on introducing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging; a Deposit Return Scheme; consistent recycling collections and a Plastic Packaging Tax. We will also be keeping an eye on the progress of the Agriculture and Fisheries Bills, both of which have reached report stage in the House of Commons but have seen their progress delayed. Make sure to watch this space over what promises to be another very busy two months in environmental policy!
Sarah Ridgeon, Policy and Communications Officer