Environment news: 7th August
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Environment & COP26
New research by Which? has revealed how ethical investors are being left confused by greenwashing industry labels. A survey found only 10% of people could pick the correct definition of ethical investing – as defined by fund managers – despite 37% of respondents also answering that they held these types of funds. Labels such as ESG and SRI are unregulated and left open to interpretation by firms, blurring what should be important distinctions for investors. Read more about the research here.
Natural England has published its 2020-21 action plan to build partnerships for nature’s recovery. Among its plans are to develop well-managed nature recovery networks across land, water and sea; connect people to the natural environment for their own and society’s prosperity; and to support nature-based solutions contributing fully to tackling climate change and also reaching net-zero emissions. Read more about the plan here.
The Welsh Government has published a Clean Air Plan for Wales. In Wales, poor air quality contributes to a reduced life expectancy equivalent to between 1,000 and 1,400 deaths each year. Actions introduced will seek to reduce air pollution, health risks and inequalities in order to improve public health, and encourage more people to walk, cycle, or use public transport. Read the full plan here.
The Environmental Audit Committee has written to BEIS Secretary Alok Sharma stating that a lack of clear vision risks scuppering hydrogen’s potential role in developing the UK's low carbon energy mix. A recent evidence session suggested the UK has the expertise and the technology capabilities to scale up low-carbon hydrogen, but it lags behind other nations. A hydrogen strategy could support decarbonisation of transport sectors such as aviation and shipping. Read the full letter here.
The DfT has published the results of its national travel attitudes survey, outlining public attitudes towards travel and transport. The survey found that half (48%) of respondents are concerned about poor air quality in their immediate area. It also revealed that 61% of respondents have heard of carbon offsetting, and among respondents who are planning to purchase a new bicycle, 32% say they are likely to purchase an e-bike. Find the full report here.
TfL has announced the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) with the installation of new cameras. The zone will expand up to the North and South Circular in October 2021 – spreading cleaner air across the city. To support those who may struggle to meet ULEZ standards with their own vehicles, the Mayor has also launched a £48m scrappage scheme for those on low incomes to switch to cleaner vehicles and greener forms of transport. Read more on the announcement here.
MHCLG has announced £1.3 billion investment in home-building and green infrastructure projects to support a green recovery. Over 300 shovel-ready projects in England are expected to create 85,000 jobs, with 26,000 homes expected to be on brownfield land. Strict accreditation rules will also apply for tradespeople involved in the £2 billion Green Homes Grant scheme to ensure homes are of the highest quality. Read more about the announcement here.
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