MicroBanned and other updates
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Dear <<First Name>>,


I hope you are having a good summer! I had a great time on the Pembrokeshire coast, one of the smallest UK National Parks, home to the Skomer Marine Reserve (designated in 1990) and voted the second best coastline in the world by National Geographic. A fitting way to prepare for a month of ocean protection, with microbeads banned last week, and the Our Ocean conference coming up next week.

More on that below, as well as updates on ministerial portfolios, Nature and Brexit, William Hague's call to protect elephants, new policy calls on home improvements, flood resilience and the Paris agreement.

And if you're in Birmingham, please join us for our party conference reception on the Monday evening (RSVP here), and our fringe with SusHub and the ESA and Ministers - details below. 


P.S. CEN is planning a series of roundtables over the Autumn. We will be looking at: CAP, Fisheries, Wildlife Protection, International Trade & Exports, Resources and Productivity, and Energy. Please drop me a line letting me know which topics are of interest, if you are keen to participate.

36 MPs have written to the Prime Minister on the environment. They reaffirmed the Conservative commitment to environmental action, and called for bold and exciting action in the coming months and years. In particular, they urged the PM to:
  • "Reaffirm our manifesto commitment to creating a Blue Belt of protected waters around the UK’s 14 Overseas Territories, including as a first step around the Pitcairn Islands and Ascension Island.
  • Commit to continued and thorough application of the EU’s Birds, Habitats and Bathing Water directives until equivalent UK legislation is enacted. We should incorporate in a new Nature Act the protections and powers we need.
  • Take advantage of the repatriation of the Common Agriculture Policy by shifting subsidies in favour of paying farmers for delivering services for the environment and public good.
  • Restate our commitment to fishing to maximum sustainable yield: a hard-won, UK-led reform of the Common Fisheries Policy."
The MPs included Chairman of the EFRA committee, Neil Parish, former Secretaries of State for the Environment (Caroline Spelman) and International Development (Andrew Mitchell), former fisheries minister Richard Benyon, former Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan and former Transport Minister Stephen Hammond. Signatories encompassed the 2015 intake and senior parliamentarians such as Bernard Jenkin, Sir Nicholas Soames, Sir Peter Bottomley and James Gray. The letter is available on the CEN website and was written up in the Guardian.
Microbeads: New DEFRA Secretary Andrea Leadsom made the decision to ban microbeads just nine days into a campaign by the Daily Mail.   The ban had been promoted by the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee, and was praised by members of that committee including Caroline Ansell, Jo Churchill, Peter Heaton-JonesZac Goldsmith and Rebecca Pow.

On an average day, the UK dumps 86 tons of microbeads into the sea, impacting shellfish, fish and birds. This is just part of the 8 million tonnes of plastic washed into the sea every year. Alongside Owen Paterson's Plastic Bag charge, the ban is another small step towards cleaning up the oceans.

In other marine news, the UK will attend the Our Ocean Conference in Washington D.C. next week. President Obama will be expanding a Marine Reserve in the Pacific (initially set up by George W. Bush) to cover an area of 1.2m km2. UK Marine Reserves around Chagos, Pitcairn and Ascension total 1.7km2.
The National Flood Resilience Review has been published today. Commissioned by Oliver Letwin, published by Ben Gummer and Andrea Leadsom,  its scope was to understand flooding risk over the next 10 years. It looks forward to the 25 year plan for the environment, which CEN believes offers key wins for nature and flood reduction. The report found that:

"signals of a role for climate change in recent extreme daily rainfall events are emerging [7 of the 10 wettest years in the UK have happened since 1998; a clear signal of more heavy daily rain events in the most recent decade...consistent with the thermodynamic effects of climate change] but the inherent natural variability in the UK’s climate means that it will probably be some time before a definitive answer on longer period (e.g. monthly and seasonal) accumulations will be obtained." p. 34 

It also notes that the UK's longer range forecasts predict "a trend towards ‘hotter, drier summers and milder, wetter winters’ by the end of the century." p. 43.

Recommendations include: ''Methods should be developed to better understand variability and how it may alter due to future climate change.' p. 92. 
The CEN reception will be on 3rd October at 1930. Through the kind support of the Sea Life Centres we will be celebrating the Blue Belt, coal phase out plans and other conservative environmental progress in the National Sea Life Centre, Birmingham. RSVP here via Eventbrite is essential for admittance.

We are also partnering with SusHub for their Fringe, at 2100 on Tuesday 4th, in the Hyatt: Allegro Room. We will be discussing the circular economy and resource efficiency with the Environmental Services Association and Ministers.

And there will be a small prize for the first three people who email me on the relevance of the photo!
CEN Board Member Ben Caldecott and Bright Blue Researcher Sam Hall published their report on incentivising home energy improvements. It recommends simpler finance for a 'Green Deal' successor, and responsibilities on homeowners to improve energy efficiency at points of refurbishment or sale.

More ministerial responsibilities were unveiled over the summer. Greg Hands is Minister of State for Trade and Investment, with responsibility for technology and smart cities, infrastructure, energy, and overseas direct investment. Robin Walker takes on responsibility for Environment at the Department for Exiting the European Union. Nick Hurd is Minister for Climate Change and Industry
Former Foreign Secretary William Hague wrote an impassioned plea in the Telegraph against the 'massacre' of the world's elephants. He noted the government's manifesto commitment to "continue to lead the world in stopping the poaching that kills thousands of elephants each year,” to “press for a total ban on ivory sales," and pushed for progress.

The US and China used the eve of the G20 to ratify the Paris Climate Treaty. Between them they account for 38% of current emissions;  their pledges (‘INDCs') to the Paris Agreement deliver half that agreement’s climate impact – 19% from the United States and 31% from China. 

We need our reason to teach us today that we are not - that we must not try to be - the lords of all we survey. We are not the lords, we are the Lord's creatures, the trustees of this planet, charged today with preserving life itself - preserving life with all its mystery and all its wonder.

Margaret Thatcher 1989

The decarbonisation of any developed economy will require a transformation in the energy efficiency standards of the products we rely on, from the car to the kettle. To achieve this transformation, government must shake conservative industries out of their comfort zones by taking a more radical and simple approach to regulation.

Copyright © 2016 Conservative Environment Network, All rights reserved.

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