By Rebecca Woods
The dust is settling on one of the most interesting general elections for years. No one predicted the outcome quite as it turned out. A majority government for Cameron, three party leaders stepping down (although Farage has dithered on this!), and overwhelming success for the Scottish National Party.
Despite all the action, it could be assumed that a Conservative government, with Cameron remaining at the UK’s helm, will provide much-needed political stability, a must for securing investment in green projects. However, with a referendum on the EU on the horizon and new ministers in position, will we see a step change and what will this mean for the environment?
One of the first things on the list for Cameron post-election was to establish his cabinet. From an environmental perspective, there are two key roles. He appointed Amber Rudd MP as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and confirmed Elizabeth Truss MP would remain in her role as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Amber Rudd has already been vocal on her priorities. She has made clear that she will be putting an end to onshore wind farm subsidies, something clearly outlined in the party manifesto. Another key focus for her is progressing fracking for shale gas and oil. So, a combination of stability and change from a cabinet perspective.
The EU referendum will undoubtedly create uncertainty. Commentators are predicting this will be a priority for government, so we could have our in / out answer next year.
While stability can be positive for attracting investment in clean technology, change is often needed to provide impetus to ‘green’ programmes. Following this election we have yet to see significant change. While there has been a focus on securing the UK’s energy infrastructure, there has been little talk of investment in renewables or recycling to reduce our dependency on landfill.
There’s no doubt that Cameron’s government has to make its mark over the next five years to build on and further the UK’s progress in terms of clean energy and waste recycling measures.
One area we would like to see invested in is stronger policy to support waste recycling. Government must show its support for the recycling sector with landfill bans for waste streams such as food. It is only with central backing that waste targets will be met. We now await the upcoming Queen’s Speech which will confirm political plans on 27th May 2015.
At Prova we are working with some of the UK’s leading clean technology and environmental businesses to ensure their voice is heard by government. For more information about our services, as well as how we could help your business get its voice heard by industry and government, please call 01926 776900 or email Jane Gentleman.