Greener UK
A manifesto for a greener UK

A manifesto for a greener UK

Greener UK believes that the people of these islands deserve a world-class environment: clean air, clear water, a stable climate, healthy seas, beautiful landscapes and thriving wildlife in the places we love.

This is fundamental to the well-being and prosperity of our own and future generations.

Yet today, nature is struggling. We are depleting our soils and water supplies, generating mountains of food and plastic waste, changing our climate and making the air in our cities dangerous to breathe. Our wild places are dwindling, and we face the sadness of once familiar animals and plants fading away from our gardens and countryside.

This is a pivotal moment for the environment. We will need policies and investment that create thriving farming and fishing industries, working with the grain of nature to return our land, seas, lakes and rivers to good health. We will need to secure the benefits of existing environmental laws as we leave the European Union, and we will need an ambitious new Environment Act*, which aims not just to maintain but restore our natural commonwealth.

Together, our organisations have a combined membership of 7.9 million people. We own and look after more than 500,000 hectares of precious countryside and green spaces, which we safeguard for the benefit of all who live and visit here. We are ready and willing to play our part in making our vision a reality, by working with communities, voluntary groups and the private sector to make local places better and to tackle global challenges like climate change.

But it is also vital that governments and politicians lead. They must demonstrate their commitment to our shared inheritance through bold action at home, and renewed co-operation with our friends and allies in Europe and around the world.

Together, we can restore nature and our natural resources in a generation.

*A new Act is required in England; new, separate Acts may also be required in the devolved nations.
 

We believe that, to make the vision of a greener UK a reality, the following action is necessary:

Secure the benefits of existing environmental laws as the UK leaves the European Union, and pass an ambitious new Environment Act

1 Fully transpose and maintain existing EU environmental laws and principles through the Repeal Bill, and ensure we have the necessary governance arrangements in place for robust implementation and enforcement in future.

2 Lead the world by setting measurable milestones for environmental restoration and high standards for pollution and resource efficiency, as part of a strong 25 year plan, reinforced in law in an ambitious new Environment Act.

Secure the UK’s global climate leadership

3 Ensure the UK achieves its global and domestic climate ambitions by continuing to co-operate on energy and climate change with the EU, for example by avoiding disruption to the current EU 2030 climate and energy framework.

4 Affirm ongoing investment in, and deployment of, clean energy infrastructure and efficient vehicles, buildings and appliances; maintain high standards and financial support for greenhouse gas reduction, energy efficiency and air quality.

Introduce new policies and investment that create thriving farming and fishing industries

5 Create sustainable farming and land use policies that deliver real value, by investing taxpayers’ money in public benefits, including abundant nature, clean water, climate change mitigation and beautiful landscapes.

6 Lead the world with high environmental and animal welfare standards in agriculture, to establish a global reputation for quality food that people can trust.

7 Introduce new domestic laws that make the UK a world leader in innovative and sustainable fisheries management, providing the basis for precautionary and ecosystem-based approaches.

8 Continue to support sustainable fishing levels, introducing a domestic legal requirement to fish at a level that allows fish stocks to recover and to document fully all fish caught.

Read our manifesto for a greener UK (pdf)

The Great Repeal Bill was announced by the UK government in early October 2016. Expected in the next parliamentary session, this bill will, upon the UK’s exit from the EU, repeal the European Communities Act and convert existing EU law into domestic law. This short briefing explains the environmental significance of the repeal bill and sets out how the bill can build towards a greener UK.

Read the repeal bill briefing