Solutions

Introduce a Sustainable Economy Act

Introduce a Sustainable Economy Act

Climate change laws should be extended to set binding targets to protect all aspects of our environment.

The UK should urgently extend climate change laws to other areas of environmental breakdown including biodiversity, soil fertility and air quality. A UK Sustainable Economy Act will set binding targets to protect the health of a wider range of natural systems, beyond the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on climate breakdown.

This would enable the UK to enshrine in domestic law existing European Union safeguards after Brexit, some of which – despite being more limited – will fall away without new legislation.

But new targets should encompass the wider environmental impact of all economic activity on these systems – including on countries that export goods and services to the UK.

Measures include:

  • The UK government to pass a Sustainable Economy Act to extend the range of the Climate Change Act to a wider range of damaging environmental impacts – including biodiversity, soil fertility and air quality.
  • New binding targets to be set across all these systems, encompassing the environmental impact of goods and services produced in and imported to the UK, and working towards restoring as well as conserving these natural systems.
  • A new Committee on Sustainability to advise on objectives, similar to the UK’s expert Climate Change Committee.
  • A new enforcement body to hold the government to account, with more extensive powers than those already planned for the UK’s new Office of Environmental Protection – to ensure the Government is held to account after Brexit.

Policy in practice

Projects that demonstrate the benefits or may be helped by polices like this.

  • Eckington Against Fracking
    Local residents battle multinational chemicals giant Ineos to prevent fracking.
  • Great North Energy
    Great North Energy is part of a new wave of not-for-profit energy companies set up by local authorities.
  • Welcome to Our Woods
    Community organisation runs forests for the benefit of all.
  • Ram Energy
    Ram Energy is part of a new wave of not-for-profit energy companies set up by local authorities.
  • Robin Hood Energy
    Robin Hood Energy is the first not-for-profit energy company owned by a local authority.
  • Isle of Eigg
    Community-owned Eigg has been labelled Britain's most eco-friendly island.
  • YnNi Teg
    YnNi Teg develops and builds renewable energy generators in Wales, funded by community shares.
  • Poole Harbour
    A once illegal fishery has been reborn as a model of sustainability.
  • Arran COAST
    Community-led campaign saved seabed and marine life from devastation.
  • Schools’ Energy Co-operative
    Schools’ Energy Co-operative has installed solar panels on schools across the country, working with a network of local groups.