Environment Agency chair Lord Chris Smith has said that the EA has to see itself as a facilitator as well as a regulator.
Smith was speaking at the Royal Society for the Arts lecture called Out of the Red, Into the Green - after the credit crunch: a more sustainable future? (11 February). He was addressing topics about the economy and the environmental challenges.
He said: We [EA] have to become an enabler organisation, making it easier for others to make the right environmental choices; whether its ensuring that micro-hydro power generation schemes can go ahead in the right places, or waste-to-energy schemes, or anaerobic digestion projects, or permits for the impact of greener buildings on the environment. Increasingly, we have to see ourselves as a facilitator as well as a regulator.
Smith said that this year would be the year when we radically change some our economic and social habits, and make a historic shift towards a more sustainable pattern of human activity and economic interaction.
And I firmly believe that the shift to a low-carbon economy, coupled with a new drive in environmental technology and green jobs, could offer our businesses their best hope of leading the world again.
He also called for a Green New Deal as a central part of the economic recovery package to beat the credit crunch. He said that some of the green investments are urgent and immediate including energy-from-waste projects. The knowledge and the technology is there, the need is there, but the financial parameters and political support and in some cases public subsidy have to make them work.