A coalition of environment groups, including the Green Alliance and WWF, have set out proposals for achieving a "greener" Britain, ranging from measures to support the natural world to regenerate to policies aimed at building a more resilient economy.
The groups acknowledge that Britain has achieved much in terms of environmental policy over the past few years, most notably in reducing its carbon emissions, but argue that progress has been slowed by the economic recession.
In a new report, they identify the priorities on which the next government should focus to create a country that is regarded as a global leader in the transition to a low-carbon economy and in protecting the natural environment.
To establish its credentials as a leader on tackling climate change and biodiversity loss, the report advises the UK to set a decarbonisation target for electricity generation and create a new marine reserve.
To “walk the walk” on a global climate deal and ensure the UK attracts enough investment to support a low carbon manufacturing supply chain, the government set a carbon intensity target for the electricity sector of 50gCO2/kWh by 2030, it says.
The report argues that, because the UK is responsible for 14 overseas territories, many of which are rich in wildlife, it is uniquely placed to play a global leadership role in safeguarding the world’s oceans. It wants the next government to establish an additional protected ocean in the south Atlantic.
It also argues that more needs to be done to reverse the significant decline in the extent and variety of habitats and species in the UK over the past 50 years. Creating a more wildlife-rich future in which the degraded natural environment can be recovered will require fundamental changes in how we value, use and invest in nature, says the report.