Environment must be 'at heart of new Government's thinking'
Crucial environment issues must be “at the heart of new Government’s thinking”, says a new survey from the Institute of Environmental Management Assessment (IEMA).
In a series of polls with its 15,000 members, the association has drawn up a sustainability action plan.
One of the key actions is to make significant progress on improving the UK’s poor air quality during the next parliament. Almost 9 in 10 of IEMA’s respondents say that this is a critical priority for the new Government. Making significant progress on improvements to air quality will benefit the environment as well as human health and wellbeing, as poor air quality is currently linked to 29,000 premature deaths each year. This statistic backs the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that the UK must cut its air pollution levels.
The professionals polled are also calling for the new Government to make energy conservation and efficient use of materials a top priority. They also said that in order to drive environmental achievements, the creation of a sustainable workforce is vital. Over 90% of those surveyed said that the government should establish a cross-sector sustainability skills strategy to enable the UK to transition to a sustainable economy. Over 85% say STEM skills should be extended to incorporate Sustainability (becoming STEMS), and sustainability should be a vital part of national curriculum and part of lifelong learning.
Martin Baxter, chief policy advisor at the IEMA said: “The new Government must put a green and sustainable economy at the heart of its future plans, supporting new jobs and enhancing business competitiveness. Investment in skills for a sustainable economy will be critical to long-term prosperity.”
David Cameron’s commitment to ‘One Nation’ needs to be underpinned by a commitment to ‘One Planet’. Central to this will be climate leadership – domestically in meeting carbon budgets and internationally with support for an international agreement in Paris.”