As the nation gears up for the upcoming general election, the Environmental Policy Forum (EPF) has unveiled its report titled ‘Environmental Priorities for the Next UK Government’. This comprehensive document sets out 10 key priorities for the next UK Government, covering a wide range of environmental concerns:

1. Improving environmental governance to ensure effective policy delivery.
2. Exploiting the social, economic, and environmental potential of green jobs and skills.
3. Embracing a comprehensive approach to land use.
4. Recognizing soils as a valuable resource.
5. Committing to reverse biodiversity decline with the 30×30 commitment.
6. Overhauling the UK’s agricultural and food system to ensure access to sustainable sources of food.
7. Prioritizing water resilience for a ‘Fresh Water Future’.
8. Raising ambitions for cleaner air.
9. Developing a truly circular economy.
10. Investing in low-carbon technologies to achieve net zero emissions.

The EPF outlines various strategies to accomplish these priorities. It advocates for a coordinated approach to fully integrate policies into the planning system, taking into account trade-offs across different land uses related to housing infrastructure, economic benefits, and green infrastructure. Additionally, the report calls for the establishment of a Net Zero Delivery Body to oversee comprehensive policies and investments, while also promoting the inclusion of green skills in national and lifelong learning programs.

The report underscores the elevation of soil health to the same level of importance as water and air quality, focusing on efficient soil use and improved soil management. It also proposes the development of a UK-wide food strategy to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and enhance agricultural resilience. Furthermore, it advocates for an integrated approach to water management in urban areas and a comprehensive policy to address air quality and minimize exposure to pollution.

The EPF also recommends the development of a UK-wide materials strategy to govern the deployment of products, technologies, systems, and infrastructure, while considering lifecycles and environmental impacts.

The extent to which the subsequent government will prioritize and address these environmental concerns remains to be seen. If you are interested in reading the full report, you can find it