Asim Ali, IEMA’s Public Affairs Officer, examines the UK Government's policy announcements from February and how they affect the goals of decarbonisation and environmental sustainability. This blog post is part of a monthly series that also reflects on the activity of relevant select committees and all-party parliamentary groups.

Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

The government has announced the Forest for the Nation competition, aimed at enhancing public access to nature and bolstering native wildlife populations. It comes as part of an initiative from the Government to increase environmental conservation and sustainable development.

The Environment Agency is taking action to address serious financial offenses in the waste sector with the launch of the new Economic Crime Unit. This unit will strengthen efforts to combat money laundering and conduct financial investigations, aimed at safeguarding the integrity of waste management practices.

Developers in England are now required to deliver a minimum of 10% Biodiversity Net Gain when constructing new housing, industrial, or commercial developments. This legal requirement, introduced through the Environment Act, is part of the Government’s commitment to preserving biodiversity and halting species decline by 2030.

Lesley Wilson, IEMA’s Policy and Engagement Lead specialising in biodiversity and natural capital, delves deeper into this topic, shedding light on how Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) represents a significant advancement for England's nature policy.

As part of the government’s commitment to resource efficiency and the transition to a greener future, the government has introduced the world’s first United Nations-backed International Centre of Excellence on Sustainable Resource Management.

Defra have also announced a policy paper outlining statutory directions for Local Air Quality Management. This framework, mandated under the Environment Act 1995, provides guidance to specified local authorities in England (excluding London) on the assessment and management of air quality standards and objectives.

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ)

DESNZ have announced that the UK has become the first major economy to halve its emissions, marking a significant milestone in global sustainability efforts. Statistics show that greenhouse gas emissions have reduced by 50% between 1990 and 2022.

In other news, the government have withdrawn from the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). Despite efforts to modernise the treaty, a consensus could not be reached among European countries, leading to the decision to depart from the agreement.

The government has announced further measures to help families save on their energy bills. This initiative aims to provide greater flexibility and support for households, particularly during periods of low electricity prices.

DESNZ is also gathering insights on energy tariffs for households to ensure fair practices. Stakeholders can contribute by close of play on April 22nd 2024. More information is provided here.

They have also introduced the Strategy and Policy Statement outlining the government’s strategic priorities for energy policy in Great Britain.

Select Committees

Environment and Climate Change Committee

The Environment and Climate Change Committee has released its latest report titled ‘EV Strategy: Accelerating the Transition'. This report outlines the importance of swiftly transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs) if the government is to achieve net zero.

All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG)

Environment APPG

Trudy Harrison MP has been elected as the chair of the Environment APPG, taking over from Chris Skidmore, who stepped down as an MP earlier this year. Following a meeting of the APPG on 7th February, fellow parliamentarians voted in the MP for Copeland.

Sustainable Resource APPG

The Sustainable Resource APPG held a discussion on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations and management in Parliament with members. More information is provided here.

Photo of Asim 2
Asim Ali

Public Affairs Officer

Asim joined IEMA in May 2022 as a Public Affairs Officer. Prior to joining IEMA, Asim worked in a variety of roles for three Members of Parliament and interned for the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. He also holds an MA in Human Rights, Globalisation & Justice


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