Environmental charity sets out wide-ranging package of policy proposals and initiatives that could help embed greener lifestyles as the UK recovers from the coronavirus crisis
A new plan to ensure Britain "builds back better and greener" after the COVID-19 crisis has today been unveiled by leading environmental charity Hubbub. Dubbed the Greenprint, the strategy drew on public polling and consultation with over 200 businesses in the wake of the UK's coronavirus lockdown in March to help shape 10 key green policy asks ahead of this autumn's Budget and Spending Review.
In a blog post to launch the new Greenprint, Hubbub's CEO and co-founder, Trewin Restorick, said: "Covid-19 is the biggest crisis in a generation and has demonstrated how many of the systems we rely on aren't sustainable, resilient or fair. Imagine if we used this opportunity to rethink the way we live and build a fairer, more sustainable UK. At Hubbub, we believe we can do just that."
He added that embracing green recovery measures would "create sustainable jobs, protect the environment and improve resilience to future shocks".
Hubbub's polling showed that a significant proportion of the public have embraced greener lifestyles in the wake of the pandemic, with 48 per cent of Britons saying they wasted less food during lockdown while 74 per cent said the experience had given society an opportunity to make important changes about the way we live.
At the heart of the 'Greenprint' are 10 "asks" of government, which include measures to build greener homes, create local hubs for cycling, and encourage healthier eating. Business-focused recommendations include new rules for the mandatory reporting of food waste and a "single use levy" for clothing to encourage circular fashion practices.
In addition, the report calls on the government to develop a comprehensive and incentivised car scrappage scheme and work with Local Authorities to create community charging hubs; create national standards and guidance for all local authorities to provide well-marked litter and recycling facilities in green locations; and introduce government-backed grants to help businesses and households green their roofs with plants and mosses or install solar panels to help transform urban centres.
"Between now and Christmas we will be announcing new campaigns that support the Greenprint and bring the vision to life," Restorick said, confirming that next week the organisation will launch a report at the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion, outlining how the fashion industry can be enhance its sustainability.
The 'Greenprint' was welcomed by a number of leading businesses. "The recommendations to make the switch to electric vehicles and creating community cycling hubs, changing the way we use roof space, supporting small British textile businesses and introducing a Single-Use Clothes Levy are changes which will make a considerable difference in moving towards a sustainable future for the UK and are activities that we are already progressing with our supply chains," said Dr Adam Read, external affairs director for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK.
His comments were echoed by Helen McFarlane, head of restaurant sustainability at Mcdonald's, who said that having worked with Hubbub on the recent Leeds by Example campaign to improve recycling infrastructure in the city the company had seen "the impact that clearly-marked recycling facilities can have in reducing littering in public spaces and increasing recycling on-the-go".
"Adopting this policy would help make sure our green spaces stay clean and litter-free," she added.
The Greenprint comes ahead of a crucial autumn for the government's environmental and climate strategy, with Ministers facing growing calls to deliver on their promise of a "green recovery" for the UK and step up efforts to put the country on track to meet its net zero emissions target.
The report comes just a day after a major new study from the Institute for Government think tank warned the UK was currently off track to meet its medium and long term emissions target and as such sweeping reforms and new policies were needed to drive the next wave of emissions reduction efforts.
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