Greg Clark is new UK Communities and Local Government Secretary in England

Welcoming Rt Hon Greg Clark MP as the new UK Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). DCLG is the UK government department responsible for communities and local government in England. There are corresponding departments in the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.

The UK Secretary of State is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in England. Main areas of responsibility include:

* supporting local government

* communities and neighbourhoods

* local economic growth

* housing

* planning and building

* fire

* integration and faith

One of the developments I will be bringing to this Blog in the coming months is to extend its range to cover Planning, Building Control, and environmental legislation and policy promulgated by DCLG (and its equivalent in the devolved administration). 


New 2015 Government in UK: Environment Challenges

Welcoming the new 2015 Government in the UK, here are a few of the challenges ongoing:

* Deciding on the UK input to the Paris Climate Change summit in December.

On February 14 2015 the party leaders made a joint declaration on climate change – this is here.

* Addressing Coal Power Plants that are not upgraded to meet the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive. 

* Bringing NOx in ambient air within air quality standards – my blog post on the UK Supreme Court decision is earlier.

* Providing for improved Nature and Habitat protection to mitigate and reverse recorded loss.

* Tackling persistent water pollution still being caused by some Sewage Treatment Plants – my blog post on this is earlier.


Earth Day 2015 & the Paris Summit

Today is Earth Day, a day set aside each year to reflect on the state of Earth. Information about the Earth Day network is here.

Today also sees the Earth League publish its Paris Statement, a statement of the eight essential elements of the Paris Summit (Climate Change) to agree on in December. Information about the Earth League is here.

Earth League Statement – the full statement is here.

“Eight Essential Elements of Climate Action in Paris

  1. Governments must put into practice their commitment to limit global warming to below 2°C. We should aim to stay as far below it as possible, since even 2°C warming will cause significant damage and disruption. However, we are currently on a path to around 4°C warming by 2100, which would create unmanageable environmental challenges. If we do not act now, there is even a 1 in 10 risk of going beyond 6°C by 2100. We would surely not accept such a high risk of disaster in other realms of society. As a comparison, such a 1 in 10 probability is the equivalent of tolerating about 10,000 airplane crashes every day worldwide!

  2. The remaining global carbon budget – the limit of what we can still emit in the future –­ must be well below 1000 Gt CO2 to have a reasonable chance to hold the 2°C line. Humankind has already emitted around 2000 Gt CO2 since the beginning of industrialization. Respecting the global carbon budget means leaving at least three quarters of all known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. With current emissions trends, the remaining 1000 Gt CO2 would be used up within the next 25 years.

  3. We need to fundamentally transform the economy and adopt a global goal to phase out greenhouse gases completely by mid-­century. Deep decarbonization, starting immediately and leading to a zero-­carbon society by 2050 or shortly thereafter, is key to future prosperity. This long-­term goal, paired with strong national commitments, including a price on carbon, and a possibility to ramp up ambition via regular reviews, are essential elements of the Paris agreement. Fossil fuel subsidies should be removed urgently, and investment should be redirected to spark a global renewable energy revolution, warranting energy access for all and particularly for those most in need.

  4. Equity is critical for a successful global agreement in Paris. Every country must formulate an emissions pathway consistent with deep decarbonization. For the sake of fairness, rich countries and progressive industries can and should take the lead and decarbonize well before mid-­century. Developing countries should formulate plans far beyond what they can be expected to pursue on their own, reaping benefits from leapfrogging into a sustainable economy, well supported by international climate finance and technology access. Safeguarding the right to development of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) is fundamental.

  5. We must unleash a wave of climate innovation for the global good, and enable universal access to the solutions we already have. The unprecedented challenge of climate change requires unprecedented technological advances. We need targeted research, development, demonstration and diffusion (RDD&D) of low-­carbon energy systems and sustainable land use, and capacity building to enhance access for those most in need. International cooperation, stringent laws and standards, public and private investments and clear economic incentives are all crucial steps in the global transition.

  6. We need a global strategy to reduce vulnerability, build resilience and deal with loss and damage of communities from climate impacts, including collective action and scaled-­up support. With 1°C of warming already having taken place, many societies are challenged by water scarcity, shifting rain patterns and other impacts. This poses a threat to human development in all countries, particularly among the poorest and most vulnerable. A 2°C or more warming of the planet would impose huge social and economic burdens that need to be shouldered through international solidarity.

  7. We must safeguard carbon sinks and vital ecosystems, which is as important for climate protection as the reduction of emissions. Cutting down forests and degrading grasslands and aquatic systems is like killing our best allies in the fight against climate change. A precondition for sustainability is the strengthening, not the weakening of the resilience of natural and managed ecosystems and food production systems.

  8. We must urgently realize new scales and sources of climate finance for developing countries to enable our rapid transition to zero-­carbonclimate-­resilient societies. This includes additional public funding for mitigation and adaptation at a level at least comparable to current global ODA (around 135 billion USD p.a.). Innovative schemes such as globally funded renewable energy feed-­in tariffs are required. The private sector must be encouraged to mobilize substantially larger sums. Governments should engage with banks and pension funds, enabling a shift to  climate-­friendly investments. Global and national climate funding must be effective, transparent and accountable.”

2015 UK Election Debate: Environment and Climate Change

This is a BBC Daily Politics debate involving subject specialists of the main UK political parties; the BBC’s environment analyst Roger Harrabin assisting with the questioning.

Most time was spent on Climate Change and Energy prices, with flooding getting a mention along with a few other issues that have been in recent headlines. 

Voters go to the polls in the 2015 UK Election on May 7, 2015.

This is a link to the BBC IPlayer of the Environment and Climate Change debate, held earlier today – here.


News Section at New Cardinal Environment Website

We are shortly uploading a new public website at (our oldest domain). 

As part of the upgrade, we will include a News Section. This will publish articles written by Dr Christine Hunter.

Here is a first glimpse of the Cardinal Environment News Section in development.


Subscribers to be Offered New Private Cardinal eAlert Platform

As part of the continuing development of services at Cardinal Environment Limited, subscribers will be offered an entirely new private eAlert Platform, later in 2015.

The new private Cardinal eAlert Platform will provide access to General Alerts, Action Alerts, and Live Chat with Dr Christine Hunter.

Information and images of this important eAlert Platform, as it develops, will be published on this Blog.

Cardinal Environment Limited’s Blog will continue, and will itself be developed further. Please look out for further posts on this.

The Year that was 2014!

2014: My thoughts on the year


* red tape challenge outcomes – see graphic at the end of this post.

* some self-employed persons to be exempt from H&S – consultation occurred on new ‘The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (General duties of Self-Employed Persons) (Prescribed Undertakings) Regulations 2015’ (date tbc) – if enacted – these would define the activities where self-employed persons would continue to have H&S duties.

* planning law 2014 – major changes have been occurring and are still proposed – this Parliament Briefing Paper is a good summary.

* ESOS – this is the UK response to Article 8 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (subscribers have already been Email Alerted about this).

* preparing for dry recyclables separation – commencing 1st January 2015 in England and Wales (material types to be collected separately where reasonably practicable) – already commenced 1st January 2014 in Scotland (no separate collection of different material types).

* flood control – Government Policy is here.

* fracking – current Government guidance is developing. I have blogged recently on the Infrastructure Bill. The Parliament Briefing Paper gives a summary.


* referendum and devolution, Scotland Act 2012 and the Smith Commission – Scotland is to remain part of the UK with further powers devolved to it. The Smith Commission Heads of Agreement is here.

* land reform – consultation is occurring on proposals for further land reform.


* deregulation (EU refit, smart regulation) – initiative to cut red tape – see press release and information on EU smart regulation

* withdrawal of air and waste packages – plans afoot to scrap new air quality and waste recycling laws (Guardian article)

* F-gas regulation – new EU Regulation in force from 1st January 2015 (Email Alert going to subscribers)

US and World

* plastic bags – new state-wide California ban on single-use bags, Australian States bans for thin HDPE bags, COM (2013) 761: Proposal for a DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags.

* UN climate change – Paris 2015 represents the last hope for agreement on cutting carbon emissions (Guardian article)

* TTIP – the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership has many implications. Basic information is here.

New Cardinal Environment Limited website coming end February 2015.