As the outcome of the UK General Election was confirmed this morning Martin Baxter – Chief Policy Advisor of IEMA - commented on what Environment and Sustainability issues should take prominence during this term of Parliament.

The new Government must put a green and sustainable economy at the heart of its future plans, supporting new jobs and enhancing business competitiveness. Investment in skills for a sustainable economy will be critical to long-term prosperity,” said Baxter. “David Cameron’s commitment to ‘One Nation’ needs to be underpinned by a commitment to ‘One Planet’. Central to this will be climate leadership – domestically in meeting carbon budgets and internationally with support for an international agreement in Paris.”

Baxter’s comment comes just days after IEMA launched its Members’ Top Ten Sustainability Actions for the new Government. This was developed with Members in response to growing professional concern around the lack of focus that has placed on environment and sustainability in the General Election campaign.

IEMA conducted a series of five polls with its 15,000 Members to develop this action plan. One of the key actions is to make significant progress on improving the UK’s poor air quality during the next parliament. Almost 9 in 10 of IEMA’s respondents say that this is a critical priority for the next Government. Making significant progress on improvements to air quality will benefit the environment as well as human health and wellbeing, as poor air quality is currently linked to 29,000 premature deaths each year. This statistic backs the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that the UK must cut its air pollution levels.

The professionals polled are also calling for the new Government to make energy conservation and efficient use of materials a top priority. Energy conservation and efficiency is a key area for future energy investment, enabling returns of up to and over a million pounds on investment and presenting a key business opportunity for UK businesses.

IEMA’s Members also said that in order to drive environmental achievements, the creation of a sustainable workforce is vital. 96% of those surveyed said that the next Government should establish a cross-sector sustainability skills strategy to enable the UK to transition to a sustainable economy. 87% say STEM skills should be extended to incorporate Sustainability (becoming STEMS), and sustainability should be a vital part of national curriculum and part of lifelong learning.