Bureau Veritas has welcomed the government’s recent vow to end austerity and boost public spending by almost £14bn, stating that the extra funding will be vital to making tangible progress on sustainability.
In his first budgetary announcement as Chancellor last week, Sajid Javid’s Spending Review pledged to increase investment in the environment, education, transport and health. This includes a £7.1bn cash boost for schools and a £6.2bn increase to NHS spending, as well as £200m to transform UK buses to low-emission vehicles.
What’s more, £422m will be made available to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to help tackle climate change and meet the government’s net-zero emission targets, with £30m set aside to improve air quality.
Commenting on the issue, Ken Smith, Country Chief at Bureau Veritas UK, said: “Amid an incredibly turbulent political and economic climate, there has been concern that Britain’s green agenda has lost momentum in recent years. However, this vast spending pot along with the government’s pledge to become the first nation to achieve net zero by 2050 is a clear indication of its commitment to continue leading the charge on tackling climate change.
“As a business currently working with local authorities to tackle air pollution, we are particularly delighted at the extra funding for low-emission buses which we believe will go a long way in making headway on the issue.
“It is important to remember, however, that realising a truly low carbon economy requires much more than a big cash injection – it also relies on a more joined-up approach between national agencies, local councils as well as private businesses.
“In terms of the reducing our reliance on cars and improving air quality, for example, Parliament may dictate national policy but the onus is on local authorities to roll it out and ensure a coherent approach. In turn, there is still a big job to do within the transport sector in helping make public transport easier for the masses while for businesses it’s about actively encouraging employees to use it through company schemes and incentives.”