Industry calls for cross-party support on sustainability issues

by Search Gate staff. Published Thu 30 Apr 2016 11:27
The environment should be higher on the political agenda
The environment should be higher on the political agenda

Industry professionals want to see environment and sustainability issues removed from party politics during the next parliament. Instead, critical issues should have cross-party support to resolve issues and developing new policies according to a poll conducted this week.

The Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) survey found 93% of environment and sustainability professionals strongly back the concept of crucial environment and sustainability issues requiring cross-party support, similar to recent calls to remove the NHS from stop/start party politics.

Without this cohesive approach, professionals have been left frustrated and disappointed by the lack of prominence that environment and sustainability issues have had in the General Election campaign.

From the 560 respondents, 89% said they were not happy with the overall attention given by the major parties to environment and sustainability concerns. This is supported by the fact that between the first and last of IEMA’s Election Quick Polls, there has been very little movement in the respondent’s backing for who they believe is the strongest party leader on climate issues.

The leaders of the three main parties still collectively gained just 22% (down 1% since February). Natalie Bennett continues to top the leaderboard, with 45% saying she demonstrates the strongest leadership on climate issues.

IEMA Members feel that critical long-term sustainability issues have been too low on the agenda, or completely missing from debate. 68% said risks from the changing climate have been missing, 55% say resource threats should have had greater prominence and 49% feel that renewable energy needed more discussion.

IEMA’s Josh Fothergill said “There is strong feeling from the profession that some really critical issues have not had appropriate prominence during the Election campaign. Each party had a real opportunity to bring these important issues to the fore.

“Doing so would have been a wise move as these issues are absolutely vital to the future of the UK’s economy and wellbeing of the UK electorate. We certainly hope that the incoming Government focuses on these issues during their first 100 days in Parliament otherwise there is a risk that the UK’s economic, social and environmental prosperity will decrease and we will lose out on the growth opportunities of a sustainable economy.”

IEMA’s results also found:

• 89% of respondents strongly feel that there is a need for an independent body to scrutinise the Government’s progress on sustainability, similar to the existing Committee on Climate Change Committee, but with a significantly broader scope

• 92% said that they strongly support the need for alternative measures such as Natural Capital and Wellbeing to be used alongside Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as measures of national success and prosperity

• 88% want to see the next Government maintain its role in providing endorsed guidance for businesses.

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