Emission impossible? Air pollution, national governance, and the transport sector

Stronger evidence has emerged in recent years about the detrimental impact of air pollution to human health, the economy and the environment. Consequently, there is growing public and political pressure for tougher action to reduce levels of air pollution in the UK. The report focuses on the sources of, impacts of, and attitudes towards air pollution across the whole of the UK.

The UK’s departure from the EU means that there is an opportunity to raise air pollution standards in the UK. The report proposes new, ambitious legal limits, legal responsibilities and policies on air pollution.

Pressure in the pipeline: decarbonising the UK's gas

Decarbonising the UK’s gas network presents one of the most significant political and economic challenges facing the UK. Natural gas delivered by the network has been a mainstay of our energy system for more than 50 years. However, the continued use of unabated natural gas is inconsistent with meeting the UK’s legally binding greenhouse gas emissions target.

This report examines the key issues concerning deeper decarbonisation of the gas network. It concludes by recommending new policies for the UK to reduce natural gas use and decarbonise the gas network affordably and with minimal disruption.

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Clearing the air: reducing air pollution in the West Midlands

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Air pollution, especially in urban areas, is one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time. A growing evidence base shows that exposure to air pollution is associated with significant negative impacts on human health and productivity.

This report examines the scale of, consequences of and public attitudes towards air pollution in the West Midlands. It concludes by proposing new transport policies for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and its seven constituent local authorities to adopt to reduce air pollution in the region.

Conservation nation: protecting and restoring the natural world

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Nature is facing unparalleled threats. Under Conservative Governments this decade, there has been progress on nature conservation, at home and abroad. But there is still much more to do, including in policy design and public funding.

This book brings together leading experts, policymakers, opinion formers, and politicians both from conservative and independent backgrounds to explore proposals, and mobilise support across the political spectrum for future conservation efforts.


Saving global nature: greening UK Official Development Assistance

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The natural world is facing unparalleled threats. The fragility of the environment not only threatens the flora and fauna for which we are custodians, but the future prosperity of communities around the world.

Given the UK's substantial international aid budget and expertise, there is a compelling case for the UK to lead international efforts to conserve global nature.

Greater focus and funding for global nature conservation through the UK’s international aid budget, particularly through charismatic UK branded projects and programmes, would also capture the imagination of the public.

This report sets out the case for increasing UK aid for nature, how this will support sustainable development, and the policy mechanisms required to successfully deliver UK leadership

Hotting up: strengthening the Climate Change Act ten years on

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Ten years ago, the UK passed the world’s first Climate Change Act that inspired other countries to adopt similar climate laws. Following the ratification of the Paris Agreement in 2015, the UK has another opportunity to lead internationally with its climate change policies.

This report sets out the scientific, technological, legal, and political case for deeper decarbonisation of the UK economy in the decades ahead. It proposes new policies to enable this, including the UK strengthening the Climate Change Act and adopting a new legal net zero emission target.

A greener, more pleasant land: a new market-based commissioning scheme for rural payments

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Brexit presents the UK with an historic opportunity to enhance its natural environment. Rural payments are currently determined predominantly by the EU through the Common Agricultural Policy, but after Brexit they could be reformed to deliver major benefits for the environment and wider society.

This report proposes a new online, market-based commissioning scheme for rural payments whereby a range of beneficiaries commission suppliers to provide certain ecosystem services.

Green conservatives? Understanding what conservatives think about the environment

Preserving and enhancing the environment for future generations to enjoy should be at the heart of conservative thinking. But a small number of high-profile conservatives are sceptical of environmental policies, particularly those that mitigate climate change.

This polling report unearths what most Conservative voters think about protecting the natural environment and reducing the harmful effects of climate change. It examines the views of Conservatives, including those with different socio-demographic characteristics, on key environmental issues such as air pollution, home energy improvements, Britain’s power sector, and the future of environmental regulations post-Brexit.

Better homes: incentivising home energy improvements

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Homes in the UK need to consume less and greener energy so that important targets for reducing carbon emissions are achieved. Government sought to incentivise home energy
improvements by creating the Green Deal in 2013, but this was a failure and ended after two years. There is now a policy vacuum.

This report examines the current market in energy efficiency measures and decentralised renewable technologies, and the possible reasons for the Green Deal’s failure. It proposes a new home energy improvement scheme in the able to pay sector.

Keeping the lights on: security of supply after coal

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The Government has announced that it will phase out the use of coal in electricity generation by the mid-2020s, making the UK the first country to use coal for electricity generation and now the first developed country to phase it out completely. Since the announcement, however, there has been concern about the implications for the UK’s energy security as coal is removed from the grid.

This report analyses the impact of the coal phase-out on the power system, the demand for gas, the UK’s emissions targets and households bills. The lights will stay on. In fact, it is feasible and desirable to phase out coal currently planned.

Green and responsible conservatism

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This report sets out how the centre-right of British politics could better embed sustainability and long-termism within the UK economy. By understanding and overcoming the issues that impede our ability to become more sustainable and long-term, we can deliver better environmental, economic, and social outcomes. 

The report proposes ambitious and cost-effective policies to build a greener and more long-term economy based around three major themes: tackling the tragedy of horizons in public and private sector institutions, securing value for money in relation to environmental outcomes, and urging a new internationalism to address climate change.

A green and prosperous land?

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In this edition of Centre Write, we tackle the sometimes thorny issue of climate change. The former Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee Tim Yeo makes the Conservative case for low-carbon subsidies and Bright Blue’s Associate Fellow Ben Caldecott highlights the challenges to be faced in Paris in December. But environmental issues do not end with climate change.

On the wider environment, the Chairman of the Conservative Environment Network Ben Goldsmith makes the case for resource efficiency, while NFU President Meurig Raymond highlights sustainability and economic efficiency in British farming. Other contributors include Stanley Johnson, Michael Liebreich, Maf Smith, Mark Hoban, Suella Fernandes MP and many more.