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Mon, 26 October 2020

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Make the government machine go green

WWF | WWF

2 min read Partner content

WWF-UK has set out how the next government could put powerful voices for sustainability at the heart of the Whitehall machine, driving long-term action on species and habitat loss, pollution and climate change.

As part of our campaign to encourage all political parties to commit to better stewardship of the environment in the run-up to the general election, and to ensure the next government builds a clean economy fit for the 21st Century, WWF-UK is calling for, among other things:

A 25-year plan on the environment, overseen by a new Office of Environmental Responsibility to hold government to account.
The appointment of a Cabinet-level Chief Secretary for Sustainability in the Treasury, responsible for ensuring the economy is resource-efficient and low-carbon.
The inclusion of environmental risks such as flooding and climate change in the UK National Security Strategy’s remit.

Launching the report Greening the machinery of government by former government adviser Duncan Brack at a reception in the House of Commons, WWF-UK’s Director of Advocacy Trevor Hutchings said:

“If backed by real political will, these reforms would ensure Whitehall works more efficiently to deliver sustainable growth. They would help address threats to our environment and put our economy – which is dependent on the goods and services that nature provides – on a more resilient footing.”

The report set outs how current government systems and structures do not encourage Whitehall departments to work together to tackle environmental issues. For example, the projected share of total energy investment and transport spending on high-carbon fossil fuels, roads and airports for 2014-15 has risen from 15% to 49%, suggesting that wider objectives to reduce emissions will be difficult to achieve. Better joined-up government, with the environment a central consideration, could help avoid such contradictory policy approaches.

Putting the environment at the heart of economic policy would strengthen the development of lucrative green technologies, boosting prosperity. Decarbonising industry and protecting nature would improve health and social wellbeing: improving urban air quality alone could save up to £20 billion in avoided health costs.

Read Greening the machinery of government report and the supplement here

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