NEWS: Queen’s Speech needs to be backed up with ambitious vision for people and nature

Today’s Queen Speech contained several bills that have the potential to impact on the environment and disadvantaged communities.

Given the context of the climate and nature crises and the current pressures on cost of living, the government must use this legislation to put a bolder, more imaginative vision for making our communities healthier, happier and greener at the heart of its ‘levelling up’ ambitions.

Groundwork is calling on the government to use the Energy Bill to accelerate the insulation of homes and the transition to clean energy sources, as well as to protect the most vulnerable households from the effects of fuel poverty. Groundwork has joined a coalition of civil society organisations to set out our priorities for tackling climate change and ending fuel poverty through the Energy Bill.

We would also like to see more ambition in the Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill to ensure that people and nature are brought back to the heart of our high streets and local centres. The measures to bring vacant retail units back into use should be accompanied by measures to bring vacant and derelict land back into community use as green space and to create thriving community hubs in every neighbourhood. As part of the Nature for Everyone campaign, we are calling for a new legal duty in Levelling Up legislation for developers and public bodies to provide equal access to nature-rich spaces in new and existing communities. Backed up with resources for Local Authorities from the Levelling Up fund, this could transform our parks, woods and watersides, making a huge difference for our people, public places and public health.

Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s UK Chief Executive, said:

“Bringing life back to our high streets is good news, but to truly ‘level up’ we need to be more ambitious about bringing people and nature back to our town and city centres. In Mental Health Awareness week, we should be thinking big about the potential to design communities in a way that supports social connections and ensures everyone has good quality access to nature near to where they live.

“It is hard to underestimate the impact of the rising cost of living on the communities we work with, and robust measures to ease financial pressures are needed. We want to see the government acting now to insulate homes, shift towards cleaner energy, and put in place urgent measures to ensure that no one is left behind in a cold home this winter.”

Notes to Editors

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Read Groundwork’s ‘Regeneration And A Green Recovery’ report that examines the role town centres play in regenerating urban areas and helping communities towards a green recovery.