Prime minister Theresa May has said her government is serious about improving the environment after pressure groups gave a lukewarm response to the new 25 Year Plan for Nature.  But lets be clear – The new 25 year environment plan is a “good and hugely welcome”. 

The proposals, announced in yesterday’s speech, were praised for their ambition but groups warned it lacked proposals needed for immediate action. The plan covers areas including tackling plastics, climate change, land use, poor air quality an access to green spaces, and outlines a plan to create a 120-mile northern forest between Liverpool to Hull. It includes plans to eliminate avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042 and encourage supermarkets to introduce “plastic-free” aisles.

However, the plan was criticised in particular for it’s lack of focus on climate change. John Sauven, Greenpeace UK’s executive director, says the British environment “needs a 25-month emergency plan more than it needs a 25-year vision” and that May needs to put some “joined-up thinking at the heart of her strategy”.

He said: “You can’t claim to care about climate change and our countryside and then back fracking, or care about the next generation and then let air pollution harm our kids’ health.”

May also reiterated yesterday in her speech at the launch of the plan that her commitment to delivering a ‘green Brexit’.

But it is easy to be critical and sadly sometimes people are too quick to be negative or find fault rather than build on a positive and stretch across unhelpful political positions – is it sometimes because it makes better reading for journalists…..

The launch is to be applauded as it is the first major domestic speech on the environment by a sitting Prime Minister in over a decade.

On climate change she said: “We can be proud of our success in facing up to the reality of climate change,” she said. “But as the plan we are publishing today demonstrates, we are not complacent about the action needed to sustain that success in the future.”

The speech contained no new climate or air quality measures, however the published plan said the government would continue to tackle emissions from land use and would “make sure that all policies, programmes and investment decisions take into account the possible extent of climate change this century”. May promised to put the natural world “centre stage” in her Government’s agenda and declared: “Conservatism and conservation are natural allies.”

See the Speech here 

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