Is ‘greenest government ever’ still in the red?

When introducing the new government to the Department of Energy and Climate Change in 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron outlined his plans to lead “the greenest government ever”. So with assurances that the environment was a top priority, and their parliamentary term set to end in May, has this coalition government delivered on its sustainability promises?

According to a report by a consortium of 41 NGOs (Non-government organisations) in late 2013 – the answer is a resounding ‘no’. In fact, it claimed the coalition failed to deliver on more than a third of the pledges and had only made “good progress” on less than a fifth of them. And just over a year later the results aren’t much better.

With the next general election set for Thursday 7 May 2015, the sound bites and lofty promises will surely begin once again. Ed Miliband has already declared that tackling climate change is the most important thing he can do in politics for the next generation. But even if Labour is victorious in May – what happens in another four years?

And therein lies the problem.

Consistent action by successive governments is a must, but is unlikely to happen. The revolving door of ministers means that the issue doesn’t get the attention it deserves. If a stronger-willed Government based policies on a long term vision of 10 or 20 years, and not just the next election, this would go a long way to removing the lack of clarity that has plagued the industry over the years.

It’s also been said many times but changes in Regulations are still too slow – and surely that must come down to government inactivity. When you combine this with the lack of clarity and decisiveness then the industry continues to be left with rumours and this just adds to the confusion.

It may not have been the greenest government ever but our industry has come a long way over the last five years. We have made, and will continue to make, huge progress as we strive to reduce our environmental impact across all aspects of our work.

For comprehensive improvements across the entire industry, it is primarily up to the government to set the standard. If they impose sustainable measures it will always generate objections, but on the other side it encourages forward-thinkers to find solutions, which can only have a positive impact in both the short and long term.