EDIE, a sustainable business online news service have done a useful 7 "talking points" analysis of the new, long awaited 25 year UK official environment programme/vision. Driven by the need for some sort of post Brexit regulatory arrangements for environmental issues, it covers a huge and growing agenda. There are many fears about watering down EU environmental standards and rights, of course. But also new chess pieces on the regulatory board. Most prominent is the new test of "net gain" for development projects. Lawyers and accountants will no doubt line up if this ever gets into actual regulations, but for green activists and environmentalists it should, in principle, inject a useful metric into the currently complex and misty world of sustainability appraisal.
Other measures are carbon offsetting to encourage markets for carbon reduction, illustrated by tree planting: surely, there's a lot more potential here on real scale. Plastics reduction is an aim, about which SAGE asks, respectfully, when a debate will start about why cellulose based plastics have historically been dominated by fossil based plastics. And prospects for a cellulose (wood based) alternative path ? Resource and waste handling figure too, but the big issues are governance and funding. The latter is vague, of course: grants and loans are mentioned. Governance will be ushered in rapidly with a green infrastructure projects "framework", with an all government departments "review" led by Natural England - the Gov's own agency - to update existing green standards for infrastructure projects. This will need to be very closely watched: why a new "review" when last year a totally new Environment Impact Assessment Regulation passed into UK law (amends and replaces 2004 R No 1633 with 2017 R No 572) all based on EU law. Very odd. Incidentally, the new Infrastructure EIA was not mentioned/headlined in the subsequent new nuclear sites proposed new measures, currently in initial consultation.
Finally, governance measures hold the really big disappointment: no new Environment Commission, a real legally independent and permanent organisation about which there is a consensus in the green world and main opposition parties in Parliament, but instead a "Green Business Council" to advise ministers etc. As if that needs formalising when the business lobbies have their feet under the table already.
P.S. Thanks to EDIE for news that USA General Electric and UK Arenko are planning a giant battery storage ark in the Midlands.