Following rumours that began swirling earlier today that the Prime Minister was set to call a General Election imminently, it has now been confirmed that this will take place on Thursday 4th July. In this short blog Ben Goodwin, IEMA's Director of Policy and Public Affairs, explains what the Institute will be calling for during the campaigning period and how we will be engaging during it.

We want to see commitments made by each of the political parties contesting the General Election that will improve the condition of the natural environment and that will ensure the UK makes rapid progress on responding to the threats of climate change.

We are of course acutely aware of the wider economic and social challenges that currently exist and how these must be addressed by the election, but crucially we believe that progress on the environmental front can help support broader goals.

A key theme in this respect is the need for the next government to prioritise investment in green skills and jobs.

There is a legal requirement for the UK to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Across the UK there are also wider environmental targets that each devolved administration must deliver. In England this includes halting the decline in species populations by 2030 and increasing tree and woodland cover to 16.5% of total land area by 2050.

Meeting our climate and environmental targets is an economy-wide challenge. Not one for sustainability professionals and organisations alone. It is increasingly a necessity that all job roles can help contribute to delivering greener outcomes.

With YouGov polling data highlighting that 65% of British adults believe they do not have access to green skills training through their employer, there is clearly a need to act speedily on policy interventions to create a greener workforce.

The same poll also found that 56% of British adults have never heard of the term ‘green job’, while 64% also demonstrated a similar lack of awareness of the term ‘green skills’.

IEMA recommends that the next government, with support from business, must:

  • Ensure the delivery of a Green Jobs Plan that sets out how investment in green jobs and skills will be channelled across different economic sectors so that we have a workforce that can deliver the green economy of the future.
  • Build on the work of the Green Jobs Delivery Group and establish a permanent cross-government body that takes a strategic approach to delivering green skills and jobs growth in the economy that is tied to our long-term climate and environmental goals.
  • Support the development and utilisation of IEMA’s Green Careers Hub to help all workers understand where they fit into the green economy of the future.

Putting the right policies and support in place for the development of a burgeoning green jobs and skills pipeline in the UK is fundamental if we are to put the UK’s economy onto a more sustainable footing.

But there are other actions, that will be enabled by having a ‘greener’ workforce in place, that the next government must take to deliver better outcomes for nature and society. These cut across our nation’s biodiversity, moving our linear economy onto a more circular operating model and increasing the amount of renewables in our energy mix.

Indeed, the next government must:

  • Urgently design and implement a robust plan to protect 30% of the land and of the sea for nature’s recovery, by 2030 (30by30).
  • Develop a national circular strategy to ensure materials and products needed for our transition to a net zero economy are reused, remanufactured and recycled.
  • Develop a clear investment and deployment roadmap for onshore wind as recommended by the Skidmore Review, and establish a speedier regime for good projects to connect to the grid.

IEMA published a set of key policy asks in the lead into last year’s political party conferences, which is accessible here. We will be updating this document and republishing it over the coming weeks.

When they are available, we will also be providing analysis of each of the main political party manifestoes. Look out for this on along with details of webinars that we plan to run to keep IEMA members up to speed with the election developments.

If you would like to know more, please get in touch at: [email protected].

Read our latest news on the election from IEMA's Deputy CEO, Martin Baxter: 'With Green Skills Gap looming – Green Jobs must be a key focus of the next government'.

Photo of Ben goodwin
Ben Goodwin

Director of Policy and Public Affairs, IEMA, IEMA

Ben is Director of Policy and Public Affairs at IEMA. In this capacity he looks after the delivery of IEMAs core policy, practice and public affairs activities across a range of environmental and sustainability issues. Prior to joining the organisation Ben worked in several similar policy roles at organisations including the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Renewable Energy Association.


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