Environmental politics
News of the week: 12th June

Offshore oil infrastructure

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Labour has launched a consultation on how to create an ambitious green economic recovery. Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds and Shadow BEIS Secretary Ed Miliband are encouraging businesses, unions, workers, green campaign groups and the public to submit ideas to explore what a green recovery should look like. They expect to forge a green jobs plan to counteract unemployment, stimulate the economy and invest in green industries of the future. The consultation will involve virtual round tables with industry and experts, as well as engagement events online with environmental groups, and the public to get their views. It will run until the end of June. Read and respond to the consultation here.

Governments should use Covid-19 recovery efforts as an opportunity to phase out fossil fuels, say the OECD and IEA. The opportunity of historically low oil prices can redirect some of the half a trillion dollars spent annually supporting fossil fuels into sustainable investments including low-carbon energy. Government support for the production and consumption of fossil fuels totalled $478bn in 2019, according to analysis of 77 economies. While that marks an overall decline from 2018, the data also showed a 38% rise in support for the production of fossil fuels across 44 advanced and emerging economies. Read the full announcement here.


The DfT has published electric vehicle charging statistics on the number of publicly available charging devices in the UK. They reveal that since 2015, the number of public charging devices has grown by 402%, with a 61% increase from 2018 to 2019. Rapid charging devices have also grown quickly, increasing by 355% since 2015. London has the highest level of charging device provision per 100,000 of population, while Scotland has the highest level of rapid device provision. The report with accompanying statistics is available here.

The DfT has announced new tools to support the creation of a new, greener and more resilient cycling network. Cycling Minister Chris Heaton-Harris has announced that local authorities in England will now ahave new powers to use CCTV to issue penalty charge notices to drivers who park or load illegally in mandatory cycle lanes, putting cyclists at risk of a serious accident. The move comes as part of Bike Week, which will see a range of organisations encourage everyone to get pedalling to boost their fitness and also protect the environment. Read more about the new measures here.

Environment and COP26

BEIS Secretary Alok Sharma has announced a £64m package of funding and support for tropical rainforests in Colombia. The package will seek to bolster the nation’s efforts to protect the Amazon and its fragile ecosystem from deforestation. It will also attempt to will strengthen Colombia’s land rights and criminal justice system, controlling deforestation while building a fairer, greener and more resilient rural economy.  Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world and has been a leading voice in South America on environmental issues, but has recently seen a spike in deforestation and forest fires in the wake of conflict and the impact of coronavirus. Read more about the announcement here.

A new report produced by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy reveals how much and what litter is being dropped. Small plastic bottles, cans, larger bottles, glass bottles, coffee cups, takeaway soft drinks cups and cartons create a mountain of waste, much of which could and should be recycled but is instead polluting our environment and costing millions of pounds to clean up. The report states: “As we consider what a post-Covid green recovery should look like, we should also allow ourselves to imagine a world without litter and plastic pollution. It is clear that we urgently need new measures to tackle all types of littering but particularly to address the issue of drinks containers, which make up nearly three quarters of the volume of litter in this country.” Read the full report here.

Housing & Local Government

The Local Government Association has published a new report on local green jobs, and accelerating a sustainable economic recovery. It predicts that nearly half of an estimated 700,000 low-carbon jobs by 2030 will be in clean electricity generation and providing low-carbon heat for homes and businesses. This could take the form of manufacturing wind turbines, installing solar panels and installing heat pumps. The LGA is also urging government to engage with councils to understand how new funding for skills can be devolved to better meet and respond to the local need for green jobs. Read more about the report here.

The Net Zero APPG has held an evidence session on Building Net Zero Homes and Communities. APPG Chair Alex Sobel stated that it was important to come out of the coronavirus crisis with a different attitude on housing. He emphasised that a green recovery is vital, and that housing has a huge role to play in the green recovery. Housing Minister Chris Pincher stated that local decisions on planning are often quicker and also more effective. With 82 councils having declared a climate emergency, combined authorities will be useful in aiding net-zero discussion at a local level. The planning white paper will be brought forward later this year. Watch the full session here.

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