Government's new Environmental Bill
The new Environmental Bill was published on the 15th October 2019 and it forms a key vehicle for delivering the vision set previously in the 25 Year Environmental Plan. With Brexit on the horizon this timely bill sets a new ambitious domestic framework for environmental governess in order to maximise opportunities after leaving the European Union and delivering a Green Brexit. The Bill includes numerous measures on environmental governance; the clean air strategy; biodiversity net gain; trees; conservation covenants; external provider responsibility of packaging; recycling; deposit return schemes and water.
Below we have picked what we think stands out and we will be keeping an eye on progress:
A new independent domestic watchdog has been created called the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), who will be engaging with local authorities to ensure environmental law is implemented. The OEP will also enforce all climate change legislation including carbon budgets and will replace the role of the European Commission.
COP26 will be hosted by the UK and will take place in Glasgow in 2020.
On resources and waste management a lot of the effort is concentrated in reducing plastic pollution building on the successful plastic carrier bag charge and ban on microbeads in cosmetic as well as a ban on plastic straws, drink stirrers and plastic stemmed cotton buds in England (April 2020). The new Bill will enable creation of new charges for other single plastic use items.
The Environmental Bill makes clear a commitment to improving the air we breathe and air quality. This will be achieved by setting legally binding targets for certain pollutants, strengthening the ability of local authorities to tackle air quality issues. The responsibility for this will be shared across local government structures and with relevant public bodies.
On water efforts are concentrating around water companies and abstraction licenses in order to restore water bodies to as close to natural state as possible and giving water regulators the powers to respond to changing priorities.
The 25 Year Environmental Plan pledged to plant 11 million trees and one million urban trees and through the Bill the government is determined to create a step-change for our natural environment and to work towards recovery. It introduces mandatory biodiversity net gain and integrating biodiversity into planning systems.
Finally, local government will be strengthened to be able to deliver changes and respond to challenges locally by giving them increased powers and new tools and data.
To find out how Lantern can help your organisation understand the impact of the Environmental Bill on your operations, contact us at email@example.com.
Over 11,000 new companies will be caught under
the new Streamline Energy and Carbon reporting
The Streamline Energy and Carbon reporting (SECR) came into force on
1 April 2019. The legislation will affect a large number of companies in the UK.
SECR will replace the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme
(CRC) which is coming to an end after the 2018/19 compliance year. The
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published
updated guidelines in March 2019 as part of the Environmental Reporting Guidelines. Chapter 2 on the document specifically includes guidance on SECR reporting in order to help business in the UK comply with their legal obligations.
The key points for SECR are as follows:
Who: The legislation affects:
Large unquoted companies (including charitable companies);
Large Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs).
Your organisation will not be affected if it is defined as a public body (contracting authority). Your organisation may also be classed as low energy user (consumed less than 40MWh during the reporting year). If this is the case then you will not be obliged to report under the SECR but you can still report voluntarily.
What: If you are eligible to comply with SECR then your organisation is obliged to report their UK energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions as a minimum relating to gas, electricity and transport fuel, as well as an intensity ratio and information relating to energy efficiency action, through your annual reports. It has been decided that there will be no prescriptive methodology for organisations to use but good practise and relevant templates are set out as part of the guidelines. What and how you report should be relevant, quantitative accurate, comparable and transparent.
When: The obligation is to disclose annual figures for emissions and energy use. To make things more streamline, aid comparability and provide consistency of information across reports, organisations are encouraged to align all information to financial years. The table below gives an example of the first financial year for which the relevant Report must comply with SECR for organisations with different reporting year start dates.
Finally, it is worth noting that external verification or assurance is not required and only recommended as best practice. The Conduct Committee of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is responsible for monitoring compliance of company reports and accounts and Companies House register company and LLP information and make it available to the public.
If your organisation is for any reason exempt or does not need to comply, we would still encourage you to report voluntarily as there are direct benefits to your organisation in measuring and reporting your environmental impact. Your organisation can benefit from lower energy and resource costs, gain a better understanding of exposure to the risks of climate change and demonstrate leadership, which will help strengthen your green credentials in the marketplace. In addition, investors, shareholders, and other stakeholders are increasingly requesting better environmental disclosures in annual reports and accounts.
Lantern can help you understand the guidelines and how they apply to your organisation. We can also help you ensure compliance under SECR and put an energy action plan in place to help your organisation reduce resources associated cost and environmental impact. For further information contact Amy on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tate encourages individuals and organisations to declare Climate Emergency
Culture Declares Emergency (CDE) launched on 3rd of April 2019 with more than 190 leading UK arts and culture institutions and individuals who declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency. The first wave of declarers includes some of London’s best-known arts and cultural venues. Tate and more specifically Tate Modern, who Lantern helped last year to develop a new Environmental strategy, was one of the institutions who took an active role in the launch. The artist lead procession which started from Somerset House and finished at Waterloo Bridge passed by Tate Modern was led by activists on horses wearing living grass coats grown by artists Ackroyd & Harvey.
CDE is made up of concerned individuals and institutions from the arts, culture and creative sectors, the global movement has been set up with the aim of promoting collective action on the climate crisis. Each arts and culture organisation and individual who has pledged their involvement has promised to take action where possible to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025, and work towards “regenerating the planet’s resources”.
Having worked with arts, cultural and creative industries, we understand CDE's importance and the power of the sector to bring people together across differences of generation, heritage, gender, class and working expertise to find commonality, building capacity for action.
For further details of our work with cultural sectors please contact email@example.com.
A new model for productive urban woodlands
Lantern has been working with Trees for Cities and the London Borough of Ealing to tell the story of a new urban woodland in London.
Horsenden Hill in West London is a 120 hectare site of mixed woodland and grassland. Much of the original ancient woodland which stood on the site was felled with just 4 hectares remaining for future harvesting. The site has now reverted largely to unmanaged secondary woodland and lacks diversity, limiting its value for wildlife and the local community.
Working in partnership the London Borough of Ealing and Trees for Cities have reassessed the role and long term future of the site. Regenerating and reconnecting the woodland and its community informed the design of a new woodland at the site. The planting design and long term management strategy will ensure that this woodland delivers long term community, environmental and economic benefits. Lantern has been brought in to tell the story of the project and the case study will soon be available to download.
For more information about the project contact firstname.lastname@example.org.