Public Affairs
Environment news: 11th September

Greenhouse Public Affairs provides a weekly public affairs environment news round-up across sectors including energy, transport and the environment. Sign up to our public affairs weekly round-up here.

Climate and COP26

The Climate Assembly has published its final report, urging the UK path to net-zero to be underpinned by education, choice, fairness and political consensus. The citizens’ assembly was commissioned to understand public preferences on how the UK should tackle climate change. The report makes detailed recommendations across ten areas including: how we travel; what we eat and how we use land; what we buy; heat and energy use in the home; how we generate our electricity; and greenhouse gas removals. It also calls for improved information and education for all on climate change and fairness, including across sectors, geographies, incomes and health. Read the final report in full here.

The Environmental Audit Committee has held a one-off evidence session with BEIS Secretary and COP26 President Alok Sharma. The session covered decarbonisation, COP26 preparations and the Green Homes Grant, seeking to ensure a green recovery post-Covid. Notably in response to COP26 targets and NDCs, Sharma stated that the UK sought an ambitious NDC but would have to agree the quantum in conjunction with other countries. Watch the full session here.

The Institute for Government has published a report on steps the government must take to meet the UK’s net-zero target. It warns that a year after adopting the target, the UK has not yet confronted the scale of the task. It highlights how a lack of co-ordinated policies, constant changes of direction, a failure to gain public consent for measures and too little engineering expertise and delivery capability has left the UK well off track to reach net-zero by 2050. Read the full report here.

Environment

The Environment Agency has launched its State of the Environment report, summarising the state of soil, air quality, and water resources in England. The report finds that air pollution is the single biggest environmental threat to health in the UK, shortening thousands of lives each year. It also finds that antimicrobial resistance is weakening due to environmental contamination, meaning infectious illnesses may become harder to treat. Read the full report here.

The CBI has published a report outlining the importance of air quality for a healthier workforce. It argues that with better air quality businesses will benefit from more productive capital assets. This should in turn lead to a more prosperous economy with greater resilience to economic shocks. It also finds that the UK economy could save £1.6 billion each year by achieving air quality guidelines set by the WHO. Read the full report here.

Finance

The Treasury committee has held an evidence session on the state of the green finance market in the UK. It forms part of an inquiry into the role of HM Treasury and financial services firms in supporting the government’s climate commitments. It will also examine the economic potential of decarbonisation for the UK economy in terms of job creation and growth. Read more from the session here.

Transport

Zap-Map, the UK’s leading electric vehicle mapping service, has unveiled Zap-Pay, enabling EV drivers to pay for charging across different networks. Drivers currently need to use multiple apps and cards to pay to charge on different networks. Zap-Pay will allow all EV drivers to seamlessly pay to charge on any network. Engenie was chosen as Zap-Pay launch partner due to its easy-to-use charge points supporting all EVs currently on the market. Read more about the new app here.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced £12 million of new funding for ground-breaking electric vehicle research projects. Possibilities for future plans to accelerate EV uptake include charge points at supermarkets and popular tourist sites, and batteries that could charge in 6 minutes. This coincides with a new government report by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, outlining behaviour-informed measures to increase EV uptake. Read more about the funding here.

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