80% of the UK’s current environmental legislation derives from the EU. Areas such as waste and recycling, air quality, environmental standards and markets have all been shaped by EU Directives and regulations.
While leaving the EU could potentially lead to significant changes to our regulations, it may well mean little tangible change if, for example, the UK continued to comply with EU environmental standards as part of a future 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.
EIC helps members understand and assess the impact of different scenarios on their business. We are working to ensure that environment regulations remain predictable post-Brexit and that where change does happen, it is drawn 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.
Recognising that the natural “services” provided by ecosystems – such as cleaning the air, absorbing carbon, pollinating plants – are as, if not more, valuable than man-made infrastructure and services, is at the core of the concept of natural capital.
Various methods have been developed to calculate the monetary value of these services. These can help determine appropriate trade-offs or the cost-effectiveness of policies to improve the environment. They can also be used to calculate appropriate 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 implementing new approaches to natural capital, both through their work with clients and through their thought leadership. In 2018, EIC launched a natural capital taskforce to focus our work on implementing requirements for ‘net environmental gain’ on new developments.
Get involved: To find out more about our work on natural capital, or how to join the EIC, 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 urban spaces. Meanwhile, local and national governments are opening up the vast data sets they hold, providing us with the opportunity to find innovative new approaches to meeting old, but ever more intense challenges. Recognising these urban environmental problems, EIC has established a taskforce and authored several reports on the maturity of the sustainable smart cities market.
EIC’s work is growing commercial opportunities 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 and has launched a website which highlights best-practice.
Get involved: Contact us for more information on EIC’s smart cities work.
Waste management & resource efficiency
Two decades ago Britain’s recycling rate was only 10% and one of the worst in Europe. The combination of the EU waste legislation framework, public engagement with the recycling agenda and the work of the waste management sector has pushed recycling rates to 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 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 resource companies , specialised hazardous waste management firms, environmental laboratories and consultancies with expertise in resource efficiency.
Given the recent emphasis the government is putting on avoiding single use plastics and the impact of Chinese restrictions on plastic recyclate imports, Plastics is a particular focus.
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 Dr Ken Scally, of SUEZ. 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 and since the 1990s legislation and planning law has required their clean-up. 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 while government’s commitment to a ‘brownfield first’ policy has been intermittent which has allowed 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 in the monitoring, modelling and analysis of data. EIC members have been at the forefront of implementing initiatives such as the London Low Emission Zone.
While EIC has campaigned to move air pollution higher up the political agenda, deploying the right combination of technology remains vital. Marquee innovations such as electric vehicles are important, but so are a mix of other technologies that can make a more immediate difference. Much of the focus has been on controlling vehicle emissions, but we should also pay attention to other sources such as construction machinery and wood burning stoves, as well as more research into the impact of poor indoor air quality.
EIC also runs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Pollution which enables 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, with 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 & Flood Management
Water is one of the essentials of life, but too much in the wrong place can lead to flooding, while too little can lead to drought and even the “right” amount 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, jointly held with our sister organisation ACE, members have the opportunity to engage in 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.
Carbon Management & Sustainable Buildings
Commercial and public buildings in the UK account for around a quarter of all building emissions. Unlike most other greenhouse gas sources, emissions from buildings is rising, not falling. With the next carbon budget requiring a 20% decrease in building emissions, there is a lot of work still to be done to meet this ambitious target. EIC represents the businesses that are working towards delivering this.
We worked closely with government officials to ensure that energy efficiency policy was put back on the Government’s agenda, as evidenced by and the recent Clean Growth Strategy. BEIS has invited EIC to work with officials to help shape the implementation of the high-level aspirations in the strategy.
EIC also contributes to developing the research base in the energy management industry through sponsorship of the EEVS Insight Energy Efficiency Trends survey and in contributing special features to the reports.
While energy management in buildings is the main focus of the EIC’s work in this area, 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.