Green issues missing from election debate, IEMA members say

6th June 2017

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  • Politics & Economics ,
  • England ,
  • EU ,
  • Northern Ireland ,
  • Scotland


Christopher Bradley

Environment and sustainability issues have been largely neglected during the election debate, according to the majority of respondents to a survey by IEMA.

Some 90% of professionals said they were either extremely or somewhat unhappy with the prominence of topics such as climate change, resource management, renewable energy and pollution throughout the campaign.

The same proportion of the 618 members who filled out the poll also rated the quality of national debate about tackling the UK’s air pollution as poor.

Green Party co-leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley were voted strongest on environmental issues by 57% of those surveyed. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn came second with 9%, and Conservative prime minister Theresa May gained 6% of the vote.

Of the 18% who said they don’t know, over a third (39%) said that while they think some leaders are stronger than others, they doubt their ability or commitment to deliver change.

Other survey findings include:

  • 93% believe the UK government should show international leadership on tackling human trafficking and modern slavery;
  • 88% strongly support re-establishing scrutiny of sustainable development strategy, similar to that carried out by the Sustainable Development Commission, which was closed down in 2011;
  • 95% feel the public sector should embed the use of the ISO 20400 standard on sustainable procurement, while 77% said sustainable procurement should be applicable for all public procurement and purchasing; and
  • 90% believe that the next government should mandate sustainability competence and capabilities within public procurement contracts.

Martin Baxter, IEMA’s chief policy advisor, said that the next government should better align economic and environmental goals. He said: ‘It’s clear that party leaders have largely failed to acknowledge critical environmental issues that can and will impact on the economy and society.

‘Next week, a new government will be elected and, regardless of who is at the helm, it is vital that they take on board the profession’s views and engage with them to accelerate the transition to a sustainable economy.’


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