The year ahead

Environmental policy professionals set out what their focus will be in 2017

Martin Baxter, chief policy advisor, IEMA

‘It promises to be a critical year for environment and sustainability policy. Longer-term strategy looks set to lock in the direction of travel for many years; getting it right and maintaining momentum will be a challenge in the face of short-term competing demands.

The development of the UK’s industrial strategy offers the opportunity to embed the transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and gives a progressive outlook for a future outside the EU.

The starting point is positive: recent estimates from the Office for National Statistics show that, in 2014, UK turnover from the low carbon and renewable energy (LCRE) economy, including direct and indirect activity, was £83.4bn and that the sector employed more than 447,000 people (full-time equivalent posts). It is vital that this strength is reinforced and used as a platform for establishing future trade deals, enhancing the export potential of UK expertise and leading green-tech. High environmental standards underpinned by effective regulation prompt investment in innovation and research and development, providing the basis for UK-based companies to develop new products and services that help to meet the challenges ahead.

The forthcoming 25-year environment plan for England, ...

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