Fringe Box



Claire’s Column – Green Brexit

Published on: 20 Dec, 2016
Updated on: 20 Dec, 2016

In this regular column – a must-read for all those interested in Guildford business – Claire Dee focuses on the greener issues of Brexit.

Claire Dee.

Brexit. Like selfie, a modern word that has entered our vocabulary and brought with it significant cultural shifts and unforeseen consequences.

And while many, including myself, have pored over the business and economic details of leaving the European Union (EU), few have considered some of the broader issues such as the environmental impact.

Which is why, I read with interest last week, a call from Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) for Surrey MPs to sign a pledge to put the environment at the forefront of its plans for post-Brexit Britain.

SWT is among 13 major environmental organisations which have united in a new Greener UK coalition to make the UK a world leader on the environment. Our local trust is one of the 47 wildlife trusts across the country calling on the government to match or exceed current environmental, wildlife and habitat protections after Brexit.

As SWT chief executive Nigel Davenport explains: “The EU has provided a strong framework of wildlife protection and funding for environmental projects, which has reduced the speed of wildlife loss and begun to turn the tide of fortune for some species in Surrey.

“The decision to leave the EU brings significant long-term risks for our wildlife and environment. We’re calling on all of our MPs in the county to pledge to build a better future for our wildlife, wild places and for all of us.

“We strongly believe funding for environmentally-friendly farming must be retained and developed further, and that legislation to protect wildlife should be strengthened, not weakened, in an independent UK.”

Given the positive effects wildlife and nature has on our well-being – both at work and at home – it’s definite food for thought.

And as former National Trust director general, Dame Fiona Reynolds, noted earlier this year in Director magazine, our drive for economic growth is suffocating money-can’t-buy things our future also depends on: “We can’t survive as humans by material benefits alone. We are using resources as if we have three planets, not one.”

So, as 2016 comes to a close and 2017 arrives, the debate continues and grows: soft Brexit, hard Brexit, green Brexit…

For further information on the Greener UK’s Pledge for the Environment visit:

Claire Dee runs her own communications consultancy near Guildford, and is an active member of the local business community including sitting on the Surrey Chambers of Commerce Board and the Institute of Directors Surrey Committee. To learn more visit

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