Issues

Issues 2018-03-16T16:03:14+00:00

80% of the UK’s current environmental legislation derives from the EU.  In areas such as waste and recycling or air quality environmental standards and markets have been largely shaped by waves of EU Directives and regulations.  Leaving the EU could lead to significant changes to these regulations, but equally there may be little change, if for example the UK agreed to continue to comply with EU environmental standards as part of a UK-EU trade deal.  The Government is also about to consult on a new body to hold the government to account post-Brexit on its environmental commitments.  The EIC helps members understand and assess the impact of different scenarios on their business, and we are working to ensure that environment regulations remain stable and predictable post-Brexit and that where change happens we draw on best practice from around the world.

Get involved: To find out more about EIC’s work on Brexit and how to join, contact our membership team now.

Ecosystems are holistic and provide natural ‘services’ to us (such as cleaning the air, absorbing carbon, pollinating plants) which are as valuable (if not more so) than the services provided by man-made infrastructure such as roads and power stations.  This recognition is at the core of the natural capital concept.  Various methods have been developed to calculate the value of theses services in monetary terms, which can help determine appropriate trade offs or the cost-effectiveness of policies to improve the environment.  They can also be used in calculating appropriate levels of fines or penalties for environmental damage.  In 2011 the Government created a Natural Capital Committee to advise Ministers on how to integrate the concept of natural capital into public policy and decision-making.

Many of EIC’s environmental consultancy members are at the forefront of approaches to implementing a natural capital approach, both through their work with clients and through their thought leadership.  In 2018 EIC created a Natural Capital Task Force to focus our work on issues such as how the new requirement for ‘net environmental gain’ on new infrastructure will be implemented.

Get involved:  To find out how to join EIC and take part in our work on natural capital please contact our membership team now.

Over 50% of the world’s population, and 75% of the EU’s, currently live in cities. Like many challenges for society, environmental issues are more acute than ever in our urban spaces. Local and national governments are opening up the vast data sets they hold, and this provides us with the opportunity to find innovative new approaches to meeting old, but evermore intense challenges. Recognising these urban environmental problems, EIC has established a task force open to members and authored several reports on the maturity of the sustainable smart cities market.

EIC is working to grow the commercial opportunities available for environmentally-focused smart solutions – from the use of big data analysis in sustainable master planning, to the remote monitoring of pollution incidents and the use of apps and smartphones to monitor individual impacts. As such, EIC is directly engaged in making the most of the international sustainable smart cities market. We have launched a case study website which highlights best environmental smart cities practice and highlights the contribution smart technologies can impart to our increasingly bustling cities.

Get involved: Contact Sam Ibbott for more information on EIC’s smart cities work.

Twenty years ago Britain’s recycling rate was only 10%, one of the worst in Europe. The combination of a framework of EU waste legislation, public engagement with the recycling agenda and the work of the waste management sector has pushed recycling rates over 40%.  Investment in energy from waste plants has further reduced the volume of waste sent to landfill and created new energy sources.

The challenge now is to move towards a more fully circular economy, with products designed for reuse and recycling and waste material viewed as a potential resource.  EIC represents the companies working to bring this about, from multinational resources companies, specialized hazardous waste management firms, environmental laboratories and consultancies with expertise in resource efficiency.  Plastics is a particular focus given the emphasis the government is putting on avoiding single use plastics and the impact of Chinese restrictions on plastic recyclate imports.

Read our latest waste report here

Get involved:  Our Waste and Resource Efficiency Working Group is chaired by Gary Armstrong.  Members receive briefings from government officials and industry experts, and shape EIC’s views on waste and resources policy. For more information contact our membership team.

Environmental analysis is the bedrock of a strong system of environmental regulation that protects the public and our natural world.  Without confidence that pollutants are accurately identified and detected, even at very small concentrations, then the smartest, boldest environmental policy will be flawed.

EIC represents the major environmental laboratories that carry out testing on soil, water and air samples to measure pollutant levels.  These laboratories have world class facilities and test samples from projects all over the world.  EIC works to ensure their contribution to environmental protection is recognised and they are able to compete on a level playing field with government laboratories.  EIC also helps co-ordinate some of the standard setting for how testing is done.

Get involved: Our Laboratories Working Group is chaired by Robin MacDonald, of i2 Analytical.  To find out how to join EIC and take part in the Working Group, contact our membership team.

Britain’s industrial heritage left a legacy of contaminated land sites.  Since the 1990s legislatition has required the clean up of the sites, and planning law also requires this.  As a result, the UK has a world-class land remediation industry, which the EIC represents.  Our membership covers the full supply chain – consultants, contractors and the laboratories that carry out soil testing.

Much of the initial funding for land clean up was from local authorities but this funding has reduced sharply in recent years and government’s commitment to a ‘brownfield first’ policy has been intermittent, allowing developers to build on greenfield sites.

EIC has worked with its land remediation members to:

  • Successfully campaign to get a brownfield first policy back on the Government’s agenda
  • Stop land remediation tax relief being abolished (a campaign for which we won the 2013 Brownfield Briefing best lobbying campaign Award)
  • Contribute to the setting of technical standards around the treatment of asbestos in soils and Category 4 Screening Levels.

Get involved:  Our Contaminated Land Working Group is chaired by Peter Atchison, MD of PAGeoTechnical.  The Group receives regular briefings from the Environment Agency, DCLG and Defra.  To get more information about EIC Membership and joining the Working Group please contact our membership team.

Air pollution is one of the biggest public health issues of our time, accounting for an estimated 40,000 premature deaths.  EIC represents companies on the frontline of tackling dirty air, either through developing technologies to cut air pollution or through providing the monitoring, modelling and analysis.  EIC members have been at the forefront of implementing initiatices such as the London Low Emission Zone.

While EIC has campaigned along with others to ensure that air pollution is much higher up the political agenda, deploying the right combination of technologies remains vital.  Marquee technologies such as electric vehicles are important, but so are a mix of other technologies that can make a difference in the short term.  And while much of the focus has been on controlling vehicle emissions, we must also pay attention to other sources such as construction machinery and wood burning stoves and the impact of poor indoor air quality.

EIC also runs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution [link to website].  This acts as a forum to enable MPs and Peers to engage with EIC members and other stakeholders to understand the issues around air pollution.

Get involved Our Air Quality Working Group is one of our most active groups, comprising a wide mix of technology companies and expert consultancies.  It is chaired by Dan Williams of Johnson Matthey and meets four times a year.  Officials for Defra, DfT and OLEV are regular guest speakers.  For more information contact our membership team.

Water is one of the essentials of life, but too much water in the wrong place means flooding, while too little water means drought, and even the ‘right’ amount of water can destroy ecosystems if polluted.  EIC represents a wide range of business involved in flood defence, sustainable drainage, water management and water testing.

Through the EIC Water Management Working Group members (jointly held with our sister organisation ACE), you will have the opportunity to engage in procurement discussions with the major Water companies and the Environment Agency and to shape government policy on water management and flooding.

Read our latest water report.

Get involved Our Water and Floods Working Group is chaired by Steven Trewhella, Managing Director of Rivelin Bridge.  To find out how to join EIC and get involved in the Group contact our membership team.

Commercial and public buildings in the UK account for about 25% of total building emissions.  Unlike most other GHG sources, the level of emissions from buildings is rising not falling.  To meet the next UK carbon budget the Climate Change Committee has said that building emissions need to fall by 20%.  EIC represents the businesses that are working to ensure that this vital ambition is delivered.

We have worked closely with DECC and now BEIS officials to ensure that energy efficiency policy is put back on the Government’s agenda, and the recent Clean Growth Strategy shows real progress in this regard.  BEIS has invited EIC to work with officials to help shape the implementation of the high level aspirations in the Clean Growth Strategy

EIC also contributes to developing the research base in the energy management industry through sponsoring the EEVS Insight Energy Efficiency Trends survey and contributing special features to the reports.

While energy management in buildings is the main focus of the EIC’s work in this field, the Working Group also takes an active interest in the developments around the broader sustainable buildings agenda, including indoor air quality and the Well Standard.

Get involved: Our Carbon Management & Sustainable Buildings Working Group is chaired by Sunil Shah of Acclaro Advisory. The Group receives regular briefings from BEIS. For more information contact our membership team.

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