The UK will most likely fail to meet the targets set for 2020 that include tree plantation, water pollution, air pollution, renewable energy and recycling. In the next few years, the situation is not going to improve as far as the current reports are concerned. Despite the government’s continuous assertion, the pollution is far from being under control.
A political campaigner at the Greenpeace UK Sam Chetan-Welsh says about this, “The government is failing to take sufficient action on pretty much every aspect of nature and the environment, despite endless promises to leave it in a better state than it found it. It’s set to miss more targets than an archer shooting blindfolded.” He added, “As rivers and air become more toxic, emissions and waste piles continue to rise, our oceans emptied of fish and countryside becomes devoid of wildlife, the government must be held to account for its failure to protect people’s health and nature.”
The experts in the field worry that they will fail to meet even half of the target set for the UK by the year 2020. Many of the reports of the government show that they will be able to reach their target of carbon emission for the year 2019 to 2022. The initial target was for the year 2020 but because of shortcomings in several areas, it was extended to 2022. Still, they are concerned that they will miss the other major targets in the coming years. This implies that it would be impossible for the UK to even reach the goal for the year 2050.
At present, not even half of all the rivers in the UK are in “good” condition according to the European standards. Only 35% of water bodies are in the “good” class that need to be improved.
One of the reasons behind this failure could be the budget cut that took place for Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). It seems that even after their high hopes to control the pollution in different areas and their promises to promote green issues, there has been very little implementation of those. According to the experts, UK households will not be able to recycle or reuse even 50 per cent of the wastes by the year 2020.
According to the head of engineering at Newcastle University, professor Phil Taylor, “Achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions is necessary, feasible and cost-effective. But UK policy is still way off the mark and the foundations are not in place to be able to meet this target. Even with all the evidence before us, we are still opening new coal mines, extending Heathrow airport and pushing forward with fracking.”
He further added, “We have unambitious building regulations, and our drive to phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2040 is too late.”
The European Commission asked the UK in April to “make additional efforts to meet its emission reduction commitments”. DEFRA is positive to meet the 2030 air quality target.
Sam Chetan-Welsh said, “This woeful track record demonstrates the importance of strong legislation and legally binding targets that keep the government on its toes. Yet the government’s proposed Environment Bill, which should do this, is riddled with loopholes that will sadly mean business as usual.” He continued, “It is imperative the new environmental watchdog is given true independence and sufficient powers to punish the government’s negligence, and that both long-term and interim targets are legally binding, forcing ministers to clean up their act.”