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A new YouGov survey commissioned by the Alliance shows high levels of concern amongst UK health professionals about the impact of food on the climate, and support for the health benefits of more environmentally friendly diets. Of those surveyed: 

  • Two-thirds (68%) are concerned about the impacts of society’s approach to food production and consumption on the environment/climate.
  • Two-thirds (67%) agree that changing your diet in a way that reduces its environmental impact (e.g. by eating less meat) can also improve your health.
  • 40% have already changed their diet/eating habits due to environmental concerns.

It will be necessary for individuals and organisations to change their behaviour to reduce food’s contribution to the climate emergency, and the NHS in England has recently set a target to become carbon neutral by 2040.However, UKHACC believes that the Government must do more to encourage, enable and support these changes. 

The Alliance’s recommendations include:

  • Advice & Information – Existing public information campaigns on diet should include climate messages, and health professionals & patients should be supported with clear, accessible information on transitioning to a climate-friendly diet. 
  • Food Labelling – Commission independent research into the most effective form of environmental labelling to implement to support consumers to make sustainable choices.
  • Public Procurement – Amend public procurement rules to require all procured food to meet minimum environmental standards – using purchasing power to shift the market.
  • Food Policy After Brexit – New trade agreements must include a clause requiring imports to meet UK environmental standards.

Department of Transport, March 2020
Executive Summary by Paul Humphreys, Transport Group

The scope is to create a credible implementation plan that puts the UK’s entire transport system on a pathway to deliver the necessary reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

The general approach seems to be in line with the notion of Avoid/Shift/Improve that is  used in other similar research.

So in aiming to achieve carbon budgets and net zero emissions, across every single mode of transport by 2050, there are six strategic priorities: 

  • Accelerating modal shift to public and active transport
  • Decarbonising how we get our goods
  • UK as a hub for green transport technology and innovation
  • Decarbonisation of road vehicles
  • Place-based solutions
  • Reducing carbon in a global economy

Open consultation by Department for Transport, Office for Low Emission Vehicles, February 2020

On 4 February 2020, the Prime Minister announced that government is consulting on bringing forward the end to the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 to 2035, or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible, as well as including hybrids for the first time. This reflects the Independent Committee on Climate Change’s advice on what is needed in order for the UK to end its contribution to climate change by 2050. The proposals relate to new cars and vans – owners of existing petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans will still be able to use these vehicles and buy and sell them on the used market.

We welcome the submission of the public’s views as part of this consultation, these should be sent to communications@olev.gov.uk or by post at:

Consultation Response
Office for Low Emission Vehicles
Zones 3/29-33
33 Horseferry Road
London
SW1P 4DR
as soon as possible, and no later than end of Friday 31 July 2020.

We are asking for views on:

  • the phase out date
  • the definition of what should be phased out
  • barriers to achieving the above proposals
  • the impact of these ambitions on different sectors of industry and society
  • what measures are required by government and others to achieve the earlier phase out date

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, April 2020
Executive summary by councillor James Murray, Education/Housing & Energy Groups

Main points
Replacing EU subsidies with this scheme, using Public Money for Public Goods. Also Phasing out the Countryside Steward ship scheme. Doing the same thing, just different priorities. Subsidising environmental activities and benefits created by landowners, tenants and farmers.

Priorities
Clean air, water, mitigating environmental hazards, mitigating climate change, thriving plants, wildlife and heritage. Support good practise, retrain bad practise, using the governments white paper Farming For the Future.

  • Needs a high uptake
  • Clear objectives
  • Support services in place
  • Dissemination of good practise
  • Support existing good practise, not just new schemes
  • Learn from local experiences
  • Do away with red tape
  • Delivering quick fixes on scale, such as wildflower margins.
  • Specific local schemes or collaborative work only suited to certain areas of the country.
  • Direct projects on exceptionally large scales looking to just create environmental benefits to the area and in turn the country, afforestation, peatland bogs restoration for example.

Test schemes are running now, pilots are due to start in 2021, full roll out in 2024. Progress on tests now 300 applications, 46 are active, 23 more due to start soon. Six-year transition period to allow for the changeover.

Tier 1. Embedding good practise and environmental issues in most farms. Once adopted as the norm, bring in legislation to support the changes.

Tier 2. Payment by results, creating a nature recovery network, creating support networks, local support and guidance for local planners and councils to allow for less red tape to enable schemes to get up and running quicker.

Tier 3. Getting farmers and landowners with bordering properties, working together to form land management programmes just look at environmental benefits, pairing them up with the private sector to use the land for carbon offset projects? Cuckmere and Pevensey Levels Partnership is one of these test projects.

Some questions around what people think of the proposals of how the ELM will work are stated but DEFRA are not looking for any projects or ideas.

Natural Capital Committee, April 2020

This paper sets out the NCC’s advice to government on taking a natural capital approach to attaining net zero. Nature based interventions for attaining the government’s net zero target should be viewed in the broader context of the 25 YEP goals. This should be delivered through a joined-up government response to climate change.

The school strikes and Extinction Rebellion have created an incredible surge of energy, and now a plan for reaching ‘net zero’ emissions by mid century has just been released by the Committee on Climate Change. But how is the concept of net zero – and the ambition contained within it – understood and engaged with, beyond the environmental movement? Are the public, and especially the centre-right, ready for net zero?