Friends of the Earth won its campaign to protect the climate from Heathrow's planned third runway. Lawyer Katie de Kauwe reflects on the significance of the win – and what it might mean for other projects.
This year has seen the issue of poor water quality returning to public consciousness and highlighted at a national level. Recent reports have shown that water companies are performing consistently badly, with pollution events increasing and causing damage to local environments, wildlife, and putting human health at risk.
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our lives upside down, wreaking havoc on health and jobs. As a result, many of us are spending far more time at home – prompting traffic levels to drop, along with air pollution and carbon emissions. Restrictions on travel and movement mean roads are now being used more by walkers and cyclists.
COVID-19 is causing widespread disruption to the UK planning system, which is there to ensure that the development and use of land is in the public interest. Recent legislation gave councils new powers to change the way they take planning decisions. This could undermine the public voice in planning and calls into question levels of transparency and democratic oversight of planning decisions.
All of us – including children and vulnerable people – are having to frequently step into the road to follow the 2m rule, as most pavements are too narrow to pass safely. We’re also being encouraged to walk and cycle more as lockdown eases.
Imagine a city centre where you can get anywhere easily and safely. Where you can hear birdsong and breathe clean air. Where green spaces nestle amongst beautiful heritage and architecture. Where business, education and people flourish.
New research published today in the journal Nature Climate Change has shown that daily global carbon emissions fell by 17% in early April 2020 compared to 2019, with full-year 2020 emissions set to decrease by up to 7%, depending on further social distancing.
“It is especially important now, as we plan for a future after the dreadful Covid-19 pandemic, that the UK invests in low-carbon, resilient infrastructure. A new runway at Heathrow is the opposite of what we need to be building.” Jenny Bates, Friends of the Earth
Climate action ‘central’ to rebuilding economy, say government advisers – Friends of the Earth reaction
Reacting to today’s letter to the Prime Minister from the Committee on Climate Change calling for a “green” package of measures to rebuild the economy, Mike Childs, head of science at Friends of the Earth, said:
COVID-19 is causing widespread disruption to the UK planning system, which is there to ensure that the development and use of land is in the public interest. How can the right of the public to hold local decision-makers to account (and scrutinise plans for development) be protected during these difficult times?