First anniversary of 25 Year Environment Plan
Today marks 12 months since the 25 Year Environment Plan was launched, our ambitious roadmap to improve the environment within a generation.
Since then we have made significant progress towards many of our goals, from overhauling our waste system with a comprehensive Resources and Waste Strategy to introducing one of the world’s toughest bans on ivory.
Over the last year, we have:
- Cracked down on plastic waste by introducing one of the world’s strongest microbeads bans, setting out plans to ban plastic straws, cotton buds and stirrers and extend the 5p plastic bag charge, and overhauling our waste system with a comprehensive Resources and Waste Strategy.
- Laid our landmark Agriculture Bill before Parliament, transforming our farming system for the first time in 50 years to reward farmers for protecting and enhancing the environment.
- Committed to a Green Brexit with plans for the first Environment Bill in 20 years and a new environmental watchdog to hold government to account.
- Put the UK at the forefront of combatting the illegal wildlife trade through introducing our landmark Ivory Act, putting one of the world’s toughest bans on ivory into law.
- Safeguarded our forests and woodlands by kick-starting the creation of a Northern Forest from Liverpool to Hull, setting out new measures to give communities a greater say in protecting urban trees, and appointing a Tree Champion to drive forward planting rates.
- Protected precious wildlife habitats by consulting on making biodiversity ’net gain’ mandatory when building new housing or developments, alongside launching a review to strengthen and enhance England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty for future generations.
- Protected our marine environment by launching our flagship Fisheries Bill to take back control of our waters and manage our fisheries more sustainably, consulting on 41 new Marine Conservation Zones, calling for 30% of the world’s oceans to be protected by 2030 and forming the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance.
To mark the anniversary, Julian Glover – lead reviewer of the Designated Landscapes Review – was on BBC Breakfast this morning in the Peak District. This review will look at how our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty can be fit for the 21st century, and for the first time in 70 years, the public have had a say on how these cherished landscapes can be enhanced for future generations.
This month also marks the start of the Year of Green Action, a year-long drive to get more people from all backgrounds involved in projects to improve the natural world.
Waste incineration coverage in the I
This morning, the I reports that the number of incinerators used to burn waste will increase over the next decade.
This is leading to concerns from environmental groups over future recycling rates and air pollution, writes Environment Correspondent Tom Bawden.
We continue to see a reduction in the amount of waste being sent to landfill, which can cause greater environmental damage.
Currently, the Environment Agency permits and regulates waste incinerators. It carries out a thorough assessment of every new application to check that the plant will meet the latest European emissions and technology standards, and to ensure that it won’t cause significant pollution or harm to human health. It also consults Public Health England (PHE) on every new application before deciding whether to issue a permit.
Should wider policies not deliver the Government’s waste ambitions in the long-term, we will consider the introduction of a tax on the incineration of waste. Incineration currently plays a significant role in waste management in the UK, and the Government expects this to continue. However, Budget 2018 set out the Government’s long term ambition to maximise the amount of waste sent to recycling instead of incineration and landfill.
A Defra spokesperson said:
Waste incineration is the best management option for waste that cannot be prevented, reused or recycled. It plays an important role in diverting that waste from landfill, reducing its environmental impact.
Our Resources and Waste Strategy commits to increasing the efficiency of energy for waste (EfW) plants.