Sustainability and the General Election
When Teresa May called a snap general election for June 8, it was clear the Conservative campaign will be dominated by one overriding issue – Brexit.
But where will Sustainability feature in all this? Brexit and sustainability are intertwined in more ways than one.
Brexit has implications for environmental regulation and the Government’s Great Repeal Bill could be a big threat to our current environmental regulation, most of which takes its cue from EU Directives.
The ‘Dirty Man of Europe’
Remember that the EU has had a profound impact on UK environmental policy. In the 1970s and 80s the UK was known as ‘Dirty Man of Europe’ because we had the highest sulphur dioxide emissions in the EU and our seas were regarded as open sewers (I will leave that to you to guess why). Now, the UK government is facing heavy fines over its failure to meet its obligations under EU air quality regulations to reduce damaging emissions. This begs the question about what will happen without having the external pressure proffered by EU membership. Will we make the effort necessary to secure people’s health in accordance with EU regulations, as current reluctance to address air quality in city centres on financial implications?
The Environment may not necessarily change many votes but regulations that are set in place will shift the balance towards a sustainable economy. However, if the business and financial sector decides it wants to be sustainable, Sustainability will happen whether we are in or out of the EU, and regardless of the resulting incumbent Government.
As consumers we make choices when we go shopping as to what we buy and how it has been made or produced. As an employee, we can switch off lights and cycle, walk or car share to work. As voters we can back the most eco-friendly, green candidate. But we can do the first four things mentioned previously, every day.
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