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Legislation is essential if businesses are to invest in the 25 Year Environment Plan

24th July 2018

Responding to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC)’s report today on The Government’s 25 Year Plan for the Environment, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Contrary to a common misconception, an ambitious, well-designed and properly enforced environmental regulatory framework will deliver significant economic benefits by supporting investment in more innovative and efficient business practices, increasing private sector investment to improve the state of the natural environment and providing a level playing field for businesses across the economy. [1]

The upcoming Environment Bill is a unique opportunity to move beyond the status quo as envisaged in the 25 Year Environment Plan and set long-term goals to improve the state of the natural environment on which businesses and the economy are heavily dependent. As the EAC argues, these targets should include measurable improvements to air and water quality, soil health, biodiversity and the UK economy’s resource efficiency, be underpinned by clear milestones, and be established within a suitable advisory and reporting architecture.”

Nick Molho added: “The EAC rightly highlights that the government’s initial proposals for the governance body must be strengthened to ensure environmental protections are maintained after Brexit, particularly in terms of enforcement where the new body must have the power to take legal action against the government as a last resort. It is also right to emphasise the importance of the body directly overseeing all public bodies, as well as ensuring its independence by being accountable to and funded by Parliament in a similar way to the National Audit Office. This will ensure that the body is a truly world-leading institution as the government desires.”

[1] BuroHappold Engineering (December 2017) Help or Hindrance? Environmental regulations and competitiveness was commissioned by the Aldersgate Group and is based on business interviews studying the impacts of three key environmental regulations in the buildings (London Plan), waste (Landfill Tax) and car (EU Regulations on passenger cars) industries. It concludes that the compliance cost attached to each regulation has been more than offset by the economic benefits they have triggered. These include greater business investment in innovation and skills, better quality and performing products and infrastructure, greater business competitiveness and net job creation.

Natcap

UK must up the pace on its clean vehicles ambition

9th July 2018

Reacting to the publication today of the government’s Road to Zero Strategy, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said:

“With transport now the largest emitting sector of greenhouse gases across the UK economy [1], the publication of the government’s Road to Zero Strategy should mark an important milestone in the UK’s efforts to tackle climate change and boost clean growth. However, despite welcome measures to support the roll out of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and innovation, this strategy fails to support the rapid pace of change that is needed to deliver climate targets and put the UK at the forefront of the global clean vehicles market [2]. Transport emissions need to reduce by at least 46% by 2030 for the UK to meet its fifth carbon budget [3], which requires a phase out of conventional petrol and diesel cars far ahead of 2040.”   

Nick Molho added: “Given the UK’s strengths in manufacturing ultra-low emissions vehicles and world leading battery research, it is essential that the government provides strong regulatory and policy support to accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles and ensure that UK businesses are amongst the best placed to capitalise on this emerging market. This requires building on the charging infrastructure measures announced today by bringing forward the phase out date for the sale of conventional petrol and diesel vehicles, providing support for the purchase of ultra-low emission vans beyond October 2018 and cars beyond 2020, and delivering on its commitment to simplify the regime for drivers to access local charging points.”

[1] Transport accounted for 28% of UK greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2017. Committee on Climate Change Progress report to Parliament 2018: https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/CCC-2018-Progress-Report-to-Parliament.pdf

[2] The global clean vehicles market is estimated to be worth up to £7.6tn by 2050 by government. The UK automotive sector employs over 160,000 people and generates £40bn in exports, accounting for 7.3% of the UK’s total exports of goods and services. UK Automotive Council 2017: https://www.automotivecouncil.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/13/2017/03/UK-Automotive-Sector-Core-Briefing-March-2017.pdf

[3] Transport emissions must reduce by 46% between 2017 and 2030 for the UK to remain on a cost-effective pathway to meet its climate targets. Committee on Climate Change Progress report to Parliament 2018: https://www.theccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/CCC-2018-Progress-Report-to-Parliament.pdf

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