There is an overriding feeling that the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent worldwide lockdown has been inconvenient for many. Financially and socially, on both an individual and national level, the Draconian measures put in place to keep us safe have hindered many aspects of our lives and livelihoods. This has begged the question: how we will ever return to ‘normal’?
The Prime Minister’s proposal to ‘build build build. Build back better, build back greener ‘ has provoked conversation surrounding a greener recovery. Environmentalists and economists alike have seen many positive knock-on effects for air pollution and biodiversity due to the large reduction in air travel and commuting. Whilst the government work on a strategy for the UK’s economic recovery, it would seem irresponsible to ignore the environmental gains made by Covid-19 and not try to capitalise on these within the Coronavirus crisis recovery plans.
However, many leaders from organisations such as WWF and the Green Alliance remain very disenchanted by the ‘lukewarm’ and ‘false start’ promises from government. Critics have been disappointed following the release of the New Deal following minimal mention of sustainable transport or decarbonisation as an integral piece to the putting the country back together.
‘Coronavirus has shown us even more starkly how vital access to a thriving natural environment is to everybody’s health and wellbeing. This new fund will kick start nature’s recovery by building partnerships across the country, in towns and cities and in rural areas’.Tony Juniper
With 25% of the EU’s €750bn budget being set aside to help mitigating the climate crisis and recover from Coronavirus, the UK doesn’t seem to be so proactive. Despite a pledge for a £40 million fund for the creation of environmentally-centred projects, it seems the UK needs more.
The environment has no doubt benefitted as of late, but can this continue post-Coronavirus? Although there is hope and promise, we appear a long way off to sustaining the gains made during lockdown. It is now in the hands of Johnson and his government to navigate a new normal that no only sets the economy back up on its feet, but also, and arguably more importantly, delivers a sustainable green recovery for the future.