Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy New Year

Just getting used to the idea of being back at work again ... amazing how long nine hours in the office feels without the usual meetings and emails. So what will 2006 bring for SD in government ... well ...

Hopefully all departments will soon have published their SD action plans ... We did ours (http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/sustainable/action-plan.htm). Next month we launch the real version of the new SD e-zine. In February we start seriously launching the outputs of our Community Action 2020 programme - responding to what people in the SD consultation said they needed to make a difference at local level. Then in March we celebrate one year since the SD strategy launch ... the Sustainable Consumption roundtable will produce its report ... and there is more to come on Natural Resource Protection. Then in April we have the report of Sir Neville Simms task force on Sustainable Procurement. Just before Christmas I did a "what is going on" presentation to people promoting SD in the network of Government Offices. The general reaction was that they were amazed that so much is going on ...

But even more heartening is what I call the Today test. In the first five months of last year - up to and including the election - SD issues barely registered on the Today programme. The section in the Defra press cuttings headed SD/ CSR always carried the depressing words "no articles". Now SD seems to be dominating the post-election agenda ... with the result that I get into work later and later as there are more and more occasions when I need to stay under the duvet to hear one more item (or Jonathon Porritt yet again). The Prime Minister's Strategy Unit produced an intriguing slide on why governments always appear to be failing on the leading issues of the day -- because the key issues fall off the political radar screen.. solved = nil salience. So at the last election a Mori poll suggested that only 35% of the electorate thought the economy was a key issue ... 28% thought the environment was -- just one place behind.


At 6:10 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In today's Guardian Society (http://society.guardian.co.uk/societyguardian/story/0,7843,1677089,00.html) Jonathon Porritt comments that the unsustainable food production required to feed "burger man" might be a bigger threat to climate change than SUVs.

He also has a view on the Defra agricultural policy makers not working closely enough with the climate change team "only just down the corridor".

He doesn't quite go as far as surmising that the recent Russian gas debacle might be a proxy for the UK being held to ransom over imported food in the future but does call for a "more intelligent debate about food security that the one we're getting at the moment."

JP seems to be asking for the Government to take the long view. For once I agree with him.

At 10:54 am, Blogger Nuff said said...

Microgeneration gets a highlight in Local Government Chronicle this week.

But a sustainable development officer says that it is being stunted through lack of support, particularly in the planning system.

LGC calls for Defra to generate vital support and quotes one SD officer as saying: "There is a sense of inevitability that we are going to be forced down a nuclear route rather than really supporting the renewable energy sector in the deleivery of low-impact energy generation".


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