A Green Future

1 January 2019

Most of us look forward to a new year with a mixture of hopeful anticipation tinged with
anxiety that comes with the unknown, made greater this year by Brexit.
In January last year, with much fanfare, the government launched its 25-year plan for the environment entitled ‘A Green Future’. It is ram-jam full of laudable intentions and totally lacking in substance.

It has been EU law that has been instrumental in increasing recycling rates in Britain
although it is only Wales that has actually met and overtaken the 50% EU recycling target.
The UK as a whole recycles about 44.6% of household waste and has hovered around the 40% mark since 2010, but no need to worry: the government introduced its 25-year plan to improve the environment.

Having got rid of the environmental watchdog, the Sustainable Development Commission, in 2010, the government intends to create a new independent environmental watchdog to oversee a dramatic reduction in the use of plastic; a dramatic increase in recycling and the reuse of waste material; the creation of more habitat for wildlife; increased protection for our ancient woodland, and greater protection of the marine environment.

Maybe, like me, you are feeling uneasy with the disingenuous nature of the ‘plan’ because the language used is deliberately deceptive. For example, ‘the government will investigate establishing an extra 500,000 hectares of wildlife habitat’. Why not honestly state, ‘the government will identify and purchase’; the use of ‘extra’ suggests a huge amount has already been provided. All this at a time when 17,000 hectares is lost to new building programmes; High Speed 2 is going to race through some of Staffordshire’s ancient woodlands and the badger cull has been extended for yet another year, into the new areas of Staffordshire and Cheshire.

Unlike the Green Party, which has clear objectives about the environment and animal
protection, the government’s 25-year plan does not mention lots of things including, air pollution, fracking or pesticides, nor does it provide costed targets to help us get to ‘A Green Future’.

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