Air quality, flood defence and biodiversity all ‘red’ risks according to MPs

House of Commons

Air pollution, flooding and biodiversity have all been flagged as 'red' risk areas of particular concern by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) in a report out on Tuesday.

In none of the 10 areas scored was Government progress in protecting the environment deemed “satisfactory’ by the committee.

The scores, particularly for air pollution were branded “deeply worrying” by influential organisation the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC).

The scores are:

Air pollution - RED

Biodiversity - RED

Flooding and coastal protection - RED

Emissions and climate change - AMBER

Forests - AMBER

Soils - AMBER

Resource efficiency and waste - AMBER

Freshwater environment - AMBER

Water availability - AMBER

Marine environment – AMBER

“This report shows clearly that a cash-strapped government, distracted by the economic challenges the UK has faced, has made limited progress in many environmental areas," said EIC executive director Matthew Farrow. 

“The inability to even get close to EU limits on air quality in many of our cities is deeply worrying given that this results in an estimated 29,000 premature deaths a year,” he said.

The MPs on the EAC called for more rigorous policy levers to be applied by government in future to protect the environment and promote sustainable development.

They said the government should establish an overarching Environment Strategy setting out strategic principles to guide actions needed over 5, 10 and 25 years.

The EAC report proposed creation of an independent body—an 'office for environmental responsibility’ which would advise Government on appropriate targets, policies and adequacy of resources in central and local government to deliver the strategy. It would also monitor and publish performance against the strategy and targets.

“We must recognise that many of these environmental challenges are complex and ‘silver bullet’ solutions few and far between.  But the UK’s environmental industries are ready to work with the Government and other stakeholders to deliver both environmental progress and jobs and growth,” said Farrow.

Read the EAC report here

The Environmental Industries Commission will be challenging senior politicians from the three main parties on their environmental plans at its annual conference on 2 December.  Find out more at


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