EIC Executive Director, Matthew Farrow, said in response to the Prime Minister’s speech:
Prime Ministerial speeches on the environment are an endangered species, so it is very welcome to hear Theresa May emphasise the crucial importance of the environment, the number of green jobs, the interdependence of economic growth and environmental progress, and the scourge of plastic waste. The pledge to show international leadership and to ensure Brexit does not lower green standards is already government policy but valuable to hear the PM say it herself.
But saying the right thing and taking down a few straw men will only take us so far. Most environmental challenges are hugely complex and require sustained, creative policy development and follow up with business over many years to improve to really improve environmental trends. The commitments on single use plastic and plastic waste are good and could provide political leadership for a waste and resources industry that has seen little of it for several years. The concept of ‘net environmental gain’ is something EIC lobbied for last year – if implemented properly it would rightly challenge the development and infrastructure industries to make tough choices to ensure we do rebuild our natural capital as we upgrade our infrastructure.
Elsewhere though – for example on air pollution – there was little new. And the enforcement of environmental policy remains a constant worry.