A ‘Cleaner, healthier environment’ – DEFRA and DECCA unveil 5-year plan

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The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have released their respective plans for UK energy and environmental policy for the next five years.

The latest plans, released on Friday, outline how both the DECC and Defra will allocate the spending of their 2015/2016 annual budgets of £3.3 bn and £2bn respectively.

Defra said in the plan that its vision is to “unleash the economic potential of food and farming, nature and the countryside, champion the environment and provide security against floods, animal and plant diseases and other hazards”.

In order to implement this vison, the department has announced a comprehensive 25-year plan for the Natural Capital Committee due later this year; and the life of that Committee being extended to at least 2020.

On flooding, Defra has said that it will invest £2.3bn by 2021 – a real terms increase from the last parliament when they spent £1.7bn over the past five years. This increase in funding will be used to better protect more than 300,000 homes and help those effected by flooding.

Defra also confirmed that it will plant a further 11 million trees will spend £3bn under the Common Agricultural Policy to enhance England’s countryside. There will also be further investment of £100m to remediate contaminated land and restore important peatland habitats.

The DECC says in its plan that it aims to “deliver an energy infrastructure fit for the 21st Century. This means energy which is both cheap and clean.” The department says that it will be pushing for ambitious international action on climate change to “safeguard our long-term economic and national security.”

DECC says that further action is needed across the economy – on transport, heat, agriculture, buildings, industry and waste – in order to meet Carbon Budgets. Decarbonising heat supplies is a key challenge according to the DECC. To combat this the Department says it will be providing more than £300m of funding for local heat infrastructure over the next five years, and increasing funding for the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) to £1.15bn by 2020 to 2021.

On an international level the DECC will continue to help the world’s poorest countries adapt to climate change by providing £2bn of the UK’s £5.8bn between 2016 and 2021. The DECC says that it will continue working with the EU to ensure the ongoing development of the Energy Union.

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Photo Credit: Hernán Piñera from Flickr

 

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