IES and EPUK’s new joint focus on the implementation of environmental policy

Environmental Protection UK (EPUK) will be joining the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) to create a new unit focusing on the implementation of environmental policy. EPUK will become the new Environment Policy Implementation Community (EPIC) within the IES family.

The practical implementation of many environmental policies is frequently entrusted to local authorities and other actors operating at local level. EPIC is being established to act as a forum and centre of excellence for local authorities and others who are concerned with this ground level implementation of environment policy.

EPIC will act as a knowledge hub for the dissemination of information, guidance, and best practice on implementing environment policy at local level, building on the expertise and experience of those with first-hand knowledge of the practical problems involved.

EPIC will also feedback informed and expert commentary into national policy debates, so that national policies can develop effectively with full knowledge of the practicalities of ground level implementation.

EPIC will take over EPUK’s current work programme and activities and will initially build its work programme around the three main topics which have been at the core of EPUK’s work – air quality, noise pollution and contaminated land. With the additional resources and reach provided by the IES and the input of IES’s wider membership, EPIC will be in a position to more effectively undertake the crucial task of securing effective local implementation of environmental policy.

Ambitious environmental goals rely on strong implementation to make them a reality. Policy makers cannot overlook the importance of delivery. With several critical policies emerging in recent years at the national and global level, implementation is about to become the environmental challenge of the next decade. In that context, EPIC will play a key role in the policy implementation landscape.

One early task for EPIC will be to assist local authorities and others as they to work out the best ways to implement at local level the Government’s recent Environmental Improvement Plan for England, and the corresponding plans for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

All current individual and Local Authority members of EPUK will be invited to join the IES, and working together with IES members with similar concerns and knowledge to form the EPIC community.

EPIC will also actively seek to recruit new members and stakeholders amongst local authorities and others concerned with implementation of environmental policy at local level.

Once EPIC is established, EPUK will cease to operate as a stand-alone organisation. EPUK’s name and brand will continue for a period to be linked with the creation of EPIC and to some of the key activities and events that EPIC will continue within the IES family, including the annual conference and regional seminars and workshops. Some leading members of EPUK will be closely involved with the governance of EPIC and will interact with other relevant IES committees to champion effective implementation.

I am delighted that our two organisations, each with a tremendous track record on environmental policy concerns are coming together to launch a new expert Community devoted to promoting and sustaining practical approaches to the implementation of environmental policy at local level. There is much to be done in this crucial area of implementation, and I am sure that the combination of the forces of our two organisations will have an important part to play in advancing this cause.”

James Longhurst, President of EPUK and vice-President IES