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UK Government Gets ‘Red Card’ On Environmental Policies

The fifth environmental scorecard released by the UK’s Environmental Audit Committee has been released, and it is not good news for David Cameron’s mob — scoring a red card across the board on environmental policies, putting end to the PM’s hope to be the greenest UK government ever.

Across ten different areas assessed by the Environmental Audit Committee, three scored ‘Red’ — which stands for “Deterioration since 2010, or progress at a pace unlikely to put improvement on a satisfactory trajectory by the end of 2015-2020 Parliament.” The three areas in question were air pollution, biodiversity, and flooding and coastal protection.

According to the Committee, 2.4 million properties are currently at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea, while another 3 million are at risk from flooding from surface water. Unfortunately for David Cameron, this report comes only days after the government was accused of delaying new flood protection measures, having issued another consultation on drainage systems.

Biodversity and air pollution statistics were also on a downward trend, with emissions of a number of airborne pollutants increasing in 2013, according to the report.

The remaining seven areas assessed included emissions and climate change, forests, soils, resource efficiency waste, freshwater environment, water availability, and marine environment. Each scored an ‘Amber’ on the Committee’s scorecard, standing for “Unsatisfactory progress.”

“Our inquiry provides a wide ranging examination of the state of the environment and shows that further and continued effort is required to protect it properly,” said Chair of the Committee, Joan Walley MP. “A dedicated, wide-ranging ‘Environmental Strategy’ is needed, overseen by a new ‘Office for Environmental Responsibility’ to ensure the Government meets the requirements to protect human health and the natural world.”

The report’s conclusions included a recommendation for an overarching Environmental Strategy to be implemented, to be overseen by a new independent ‘Office for Environmental Responsibility’. Such a body would not only review the Environmental Strategy and ensure that all relevant parties are in a position to stay on top of their goals, but also advise Government on appropriate targets, policies, and the adequacy of resources for delivering on the Strategy.

“Effective action on environmental protection is essential, both during the current Parliament and beyond,” said Walley. “Parties should therefore be considering credible environmental protection in their manifestos. I want them to use our report as both a wake-up call and a template for the measured that need to be put forward. Consistent action by successive Governments will help ensure that the benefits of nature are available to future generations as much as they are to ours.”

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