Without doubt, the coronavirus pandemic has made us re-evaluate our relationship with the environment and has led us to identify the associated threat of biodiversity loss and climate change.
Research suggests large-scale deforestation, habitat degradation and anthropogenic climate change may have provided perfect conditions for coronavirus to flourish and could cause more pandemics if we do not look after the environment.
Therefore, we all need to work together, at national and local levels, to protect our natural environment.
I am proud that my party is committed to tackling environmental issues and was thrilled to hear the Prime Minister’s plan, at the Conservative Party’s virtual conference, to make the UK a world leader in green energy by 2030.
The Prime Minister announced that the Government will invest £160 million to upgrade ports and factories across the whole country to increase offshore wind capacity. All homes in the UK will also be powered by offshore wind energy within a decade.
Renewable and clean energy will reduce our carbon footprint and has a much lower impact on the environment.
At a local level, councils are also committed to improving the local environment and helping protect its future. They are working hard to introduce new ideas and strategies in their areas to achieve targets on climate change.
Additionally, working in partnership with community organisations, they deliver environmental projects and inspire residents to play their part in addressing this issue. In fact, councils can drive the environmental improvement agenda even further if they were given more power and flexibility.
“Councils can drive the environmental improvement agenda even further with more power and flexibility”
With the Environment Bill having passed its Second Reading and now in committee, there is a great opportunity to set sustainable and well-defined goals to improve our environment and shape the associated policies post-Brexit.
The LGA has broadly welcomed the Bill and, on behalf of councils, has rightly raised some concerns about the implementation of certain provisions and the new burdens that it will impose on local authorities.
I am looking forward to hearing about further developments associated with the Bill in due course.