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.

  • Goldsmith Street
    Winner of the 2019 RIBA Stirling prize, these eco-friendly homes are one of the first new council housing projects in a generation.
  • Hackney Energy
    Hackney Energy works with residents to build community-owned solar power.
  • People's Energy
    East Lothian company aims to take on the Big Six energy suppliers and give profits back to customers.
  • YnNi Teg
    YnNi Teg develops and builds renewable energy generators in Wales, funded by community shares.
  • Energise Barnsley
    Co-op is the largest local authority and community solar energy and battery storage project in the UK.
  • Isle of Eigg
    Community-owned Eigg has been labelled Britain's most eco-friendly island.
  • Lilac – Low Impact Living Affordable Community
    Lilac is a environmentally-friendly housing co-op with an innovative funding model.
  • 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.
  • Poole Harbour
    A once illegal fishery has been reborn as a model of sustainability.