President Barack Obama has been praised for keeping environmental policies central to his agenda, despite facing economic challenges.
Environment Agency chairman Lord Chris Smith said lessons could be learned from the US President, while speaking at an Associate Parliamentary Sustainability and Resource Group event last night.
What struck me about Barak Obama is that he constantly comes back to the theme of environment and sustainability as a central ingredient of US policy going forward. We need to draw a lesson from that, Smith said.
Commenting on the effect the UKs economic situation might have on public and policy priorities he said: We must not let the green agenda drop out of sight. When we come out of recession the climate change agenda will still be there.
The Environment Agency must be prepared to speak the truth to the Government, he said, adding: I dont mind making myself unpopular.
Discussing a change of focus at the Environment Agency, Smith said there would be a shift from concentrating on processes, which he admitted could be bureaucratic, to thinking about the outcomes such as environmental risks. Nowhere is this more important than in the field of waste, he said. He also said that there would be more inspection focus on badly run waste and recycling sites.