Gov Should Establish “Office Of Environmental Responsibility”

Baroness Parminter, Liberal Democrat Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) spokesperson, House of Lords, has said the Government should establish an office of environmental responsibility, which would be tasked with undertaking an independent analysis of the Government’s environmental performance.

Baroness Parminter (pictured), who made her keynote address at this mornings’ Resourcing the Future Conference (RtF) in London, said as well as scrutinising government on the environment, the body would also look to publish sustainable development strategies and would play a key role in embedding environmental objectives.

She also reiterated calls for the establishment of an office for resource management, tasked with promoting a circular economy. She said this office is needed, as there is a lack of coordinated action on this topic across government departments.

If we want to remain competitive internationally, Baroness Parminter said, then the issue of resources is critical, and that a new system needs to be put in place that forces government to think “long term on resources”.

Baroness Parminter took to the stage this morning (27 June) to address delegates at this year’s RtF, a flagship conference under the partnership of CIWM, ESA, Resource Association and WRAP.

In her address, she touched upon the topic of recycling and the decline it has seen in England. She commended WRAP for its recent work on consistency, but said people remain confused over what can be recycled. She said government needs to show just how it intends to reach the EU recycling target of 50% by 2020.

She said even “if” Brexit goes ahead, it is likely these environmental targets and compliance with EU legislation will be a provision of a deal. She said she would continue to use the word “if” when referring to whether the UK leaves the EU.

She also made points about the current lack of political will among politicians with regards to environment and resources. She said one way to engage with them was to get buy in from the public, but that this was hard when taking into account the “short attention span” of the media.

She said without the political will from number ten, the issue will not be addressed, and that politicians listen when you “bring people together with clear evidence”, such as at the RtF conference.

If the UK wants to remain competitive internationally, Baroness Parminter said, then the issue of resources is critical. She said a new system needs to be put in place that forces government to think “long term on resources”. She referenced the 2008 Climate Change Act as a potential model for this.

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