SocEnv response to the Autumn Statement
28 November 2016
Posted by: Lee Revis
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Environmental concerns over Autumn Statement
Coventry, England (28 November 2016)
The Society for the Environment has responded to the Autumn Statement with concern regarding how the new National Productivity Investment Fund will be spent. This apprehension stems from the findings of the Environmental Audit Committee (ECA) inquiry into HM Treasury and Sustainability, which was published last Thursday.
Whilst the £23bn worth of investment is to be lauded, especially in regards to funds allocated to building new homes, there are questions as to the process of allocating funding. Specific projects using the funding will be decided following HM Treasury standards. However, the EAC report indicated the HM Treasury assigned funding with little consideration as to the long term environmental impact.
The Society will be offering its assistance in reviewing and implementing a new Green Book and conceptual frameworks for which HM Treasury can judge the merits of environmental spending. The Society wishes to see a longer term approach to environmental funding which fits with a comprehensive industrial strategy which is publicly outlined and adhered to.
The Society is seeking a cross departmental group to coordinate the Government’s approach to sustainability and the environment and for industry to pick up a culture of environmental sustainability. The Society has previously submitted to Government that a cross departmental group was essential to ensuring that the UK effectively and efficiently meets its obligations under the Sustainable Development Goals. However, the EAC report has shown that there is a need for greater coordination and cooperation between government departments in its approach to the environment as a whole.
The Society stays firm in its belief that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is the best place to embed environmental sustainability in the heart of British industry. The Society believes that while DBEIS will play an integral part in environmental damage mitigation, there needs to be a whole government approach to environmental and natural resources management. This is where there needs to be a department, preferably with a cabinet position, that can take a leadership role and provide coordination between departments for the delivery of a comprehensive, environmentally friendly industry strategy that produces the skills and jobs required for a productive green economy.
Whilst the Chancellors investment into future transport is welcomed, especially the £150million pledged for low emission buses and taxis, there are questions about the effect increased traffic capacity will have on carbon emissions. There was also a notable lack of funding for technologies related to Carbon Capture and Storage and Zero Carbon homes; measures the EAC said are essential to the protection of the environment and should be reinstated, not just for the environment, but for the economy as a whole. The Society hopes that the support shown for Zero Carbon homes by the industry will be continued into this new wave of home building.
Society Chair, and former Chair of Natural Resources Wales, Dr Peter Matthews said “In the absence of government support for these projects, we call for industry to continue to invest and innovate in these areas. It is essential that the UK shows global leadership in best practice environmental protection, in driving research and innovation, creating green economy jobs and embedding a green culture that transcends Government regulations. Going beyond just what is required of us has benefits to the health, well-being and economic success of the UK people.”
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NOTES TO EDITOR:
The Society for the Environment, is comprised of 24 Licenced Professional Partners, with over 500,000 members between them. It received a Royal Charter in 2004, which empowers it to regulate the Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) qualification in the UK. There are now over 7,000 CEnvs who share a common vision of delivering sustainability through environmental professionalism. Further information can be found at www.socenv.org.uk.
About Dr Peter Matthews
Peter Matthews is a Chartered Environmentalist, Chartered Chemist, and Water and Environment Manager. He has held a variety of senior positions in the environmental field, in both the private and public sectors. After a career in the water industry spanning almost 35 years, he retired from Anglian Water International as Deputy Managing Director International in 1999. And after serving on the board of the Environment Agency and as Chair of the Northern Ireland Utility regulator, he was appointed in August 2012 as Founding Chair of the Welsh Government’s new body for managing natural resources in Wales, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), a position he held until December 2015.
About Dr Emma Wilcox
Emma has been CEO of the Society since July 2015 and since joining the organisation has led the development of a new five-year strategy increasing registrations and profile for Chartered Environmentalists and Registered Environmental Technicians.
Her career has spanned a number of disciplines including scientific research, knowledge and technology transfer, skills and education, programme and business management and stakeholder and relationship management. Emma’s strong academic background is supported by an in-depth knowledge of both public and private sector landscapes.
The Licensed Partners of the Society for the Environment are:
Arboricultural Association (AA)
Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE)
Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT)
Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM)
Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)
Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM)
Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM)
Energy Institute (EI)
Institute of Agricultural Management (IAgrM)
Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF)
Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA)
Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM)
Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining (IOM3)
Institute of Water (IWater)
Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE)
Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)
Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)
Institution of Engineering Designers (IED)
Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES)
Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
Society of Environmental Engineers (SEE)
Society of Operations Engineers (SOE)