They say that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes.
Uncertainty is big at the moment with the Brexit negotiations plodding along in Brussels. We don’t like uncertainty and don’t like change but on the positive side this process gives us an opportunity to incorporate a better environmental approach in the UK. After all environmental issues don’t appear in isolation. Flooding impacts across all communities within a town, stopping children going to school or closing down flourishing businesses overnight; ever increasing energy bills affect all of us, despite the ability to switch providers, but reducing energy use in homes and businesses can still make a difference; and decreasing air quality continues to hit an already struggling National Health Service.
Sustainable strategies should be embedded across Government policies, be incorporated within business plans, becoming central to help economic growth. By providing long-term commitment on the environment the Government can reverse uncertainty and improve confidence. Commitment to building a sustainable infrastructure using smart technologies would show the Government is serious about implementing a Green Brexit and demonstrate how renewable technologies and the resource management sector are important contributors to the economy.
The last administration’s Industrial Strategy green paper lacked specifics in implementing aspects of a low-carbon economy, paying lip service to the concept rather than identifying real opportunities and ambitions. We have had our chance to put our views across in the consultation document. One hopes there will be greater inclusion if and when the strategy develops.
Even though the UK is planning to leave the European Union it will need to meet the Climate Change Act and commitments made through the Paris Agreement. Moving away to a more sustainable world will require a different approach, focusing perhaps on more regional solutions rather than a few centralised systems that have become archaic and inefficient. And with this comes greater understanding and education, engaging with people whether they are part of a local community, work in business or an organisation. Involving more people in the decision-making so they can grasp the benefits of using smart meters, separating their waste for recycling or using water more efficiently. Engagement that makes the connection between ideas and everyday reality where people can see the changes being made.
I expect there will be many more months of uncertainty before there is greater clarity. But there is the potential to incorporate a greater sustainable approach which could be to the benefit of many, rather than the few.