97% of Environment and Sustainability Professionals call for Government to prioritise resolving environmental, health and well-being effects linked to air pollution

Environment and sustainability must be at the heart of the next UK Government’s policy and legislative programme, according to a new poll released today by IEMA.

The online poll of 669 UK environment and sustainability experts, conducted over the past week ahead of the snap general election next month, highlights overwhelming support for the implementation of a circular economy strategy. The professionals polled also gave a clear call for accelerating action to exceed carbon emissions reductions well before the target dates set out in the Climate Change Act.

The poll’s respondents also called for the next UK Government to prioritise resolving the environmental, health and well-being effects linked to air pollution – around 40,000 deaths each year are attributable to air pollution. 97% said this must be a priority for the next Parliament, 45% of which said it is a critical matter which should be considered a high cross-departmental priority led by the Prime Minister.

Martin Baxter, IEMA’s Chief Policy Advisor, said today that strong environmental and sustainability standards must underpin the next Government’s approach. “It is essential that the next Government puts in place a long-term, ambitious policy framework for transitioning the UK to a sustainable economy. As we make plans to leave the EU, high environmental quality standards must be maintained, enhanced and consistently enforced and used to create the conditions to support UK business exports,”

“The UK’s sustainability experts have significant experience of delivering business and environmental performance improvement, and we look forward to working with the next Government to maximise the opportunities from the transition to a sustainable economy,” he concluded.

Further findings from the survey which closed yesterday (4th May) revealed:

  • high level of support (93%) for the whole body of EU environmental law continuing to have effect in the UK after Brexit
  • 96% believe Government must place high importance on environmental protection in trade deals
  • over 96% support the implementation of a Circular Economy Strategy in the UK, with over half of respondents believing it should reflect a UK wide understanding of the Circular Economy, but not be constrained by EU’s approach
  • 97% believe the next Government should place a high priority on driving sustainability into lifelong learning for the existing UK workforce
  • two-thirds say that national needs must take priority on major infrastructure development where there is conflict between national and local issues
  • over 92% support alternative measures beyond GDP in painting a picture of how well society is doing
  • 81% support the UK retaining the UN international development aid target 0.7% or more of GDP
  • 99% call for cross-party support on long term sustainability agenda.

IEMA will conduct a further survey on key areas of concern and consideration ahead of the General Election in late May.


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