UK panel on sustainable development calls for new priorities to protect the environment

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 1 August 2000

Keywords

Citation

(2000), "UK panel on sustainable development calls for new priorities to protect the environment", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 1 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijshe.2000.24901bab.003

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited


UK panel on sustainable development calls for new priorities to protect the environment

UK panel on sustainable development calls for new priorities to protect the environment

Keywords: Sustainable development, Environment

"An urgent re-ordering of priorities, combined with co-ordinated long-term energy strategies, is essential if we are to protect our environment ..." This is a major conclusion of the UK Government Panel on Sustainable Development, an independent advisory group, which has published its sixth and final Annual Report. As well as urging all parts of society to give a high priority to environmental protection, the report highlights the need for a long term, co-ordinated, energy strategy and looks at particular environmental issues including genetically modified organisms, world trade, investment and sustainable development, noise nuisance, the ethics of biotechnology and fisheries. The Panel's Convenor, Sir Crispin Tickell, said:

When the Panel was first established in January 1994, the somewhat slippery concept of sustainable development was peripheral to mainstream thinking and policy on the environment. That is no longer so, as successive Government responses to our Reports demonstrate.

The Panel has had a significant impact on Government policy, but perhaps its most significant achievement has been the Government's positive change of attitude towards issues of sustainable development, especially in the field of the environment.

There remains much to do. Progress has been variable. The Panel believes that points of particular importance for the future Commission on Sustainable Development are: the need to develop better means for determining the real cost of environmental policy; to cope with the widespread impacts of climate change; to deal more effectively with the disposal of waste, including radioactive substances; to ensure the quality and supply of fresh water; and to do more to encourage energy generation from renewable sources.

There is a critical need, already recognised by many in the fossil fuel industry, for a long term, co-ordinated, energy strategy. Together these problems go to the roots of human society and its sustainability, here and elsewhere. The Government has already given a lead, particularly over climate change, but a reappraisal and re-ordering of priorities is essential to protect the environment and the natural resource base on which we all depend.

Copies of the full report are available free of charge (quoting product code 99EP0885) from: DETR Free Literature, PO Box No. 236, Wetherby, LS23 7NB, UK. Tel: + 44-870-1226 236; Fax: +44-870 1226 237. It is also available on the Panel's Website at http://www.open.gov.uk/panel-sd/homesd.htm