This Christmas the IES office team bring you highlights from the 2018 calendar along with their top picks for the Christmas film season.
Die [Hard Brexit] and Elf [and ‘armony] – Policy at the IES
The year started with a great deal of doubt about what shade of green (or otherwise) Brexit would be. The new proactive Environment Secretary moved quickly to allay fears by launching a series of consultations that would shape UK environmental policy post-Brexit. The IES has been involved at every step.
The long-awaited 25 Year Plan was launched which led the IES to write a detailed response calling for smart, evidence-based targets and greater clarification on delivery mechanisms. A major concern was how Government would be held accountable, so we followed up with a substantive response on environmental principles and accountability. Some of our recommendations are included in the proposals that came out this week, such as the proposed Office of Environmental Protection (OEP).
One area where the UK may be able to come up with a better post-Brexit regime is agriculture. In February, the Government published a consultation paper entitled Health and Harmony, outlining the Government’s vision for post-CAP agricultural and environmental land management policy. The IES called for ‘public money for public goods’. We have since been watching the development of the Agricultural Bill with great interest.
The Plastic Express and the BFG [Befouled Former Gasworks] – Events & Publications
The Land Condition Symposium
March saw the launch of the Land Condition Symposium, a one-day technical conference. The jam-packed day consisted of twelve presentations exploring risk assessment, policy updates and practical applications before the event concluded with a panel debate on how the industry may evolve over the next 25 years. Due to the inaugural conference’s success, we will be holding this conference again on 27th March 2019 in Manchester. Further to the success of the Land Condition Symposium, the IES also launched the accompanying journal edition, Challenging perceptions in land condition. This issue covered the remediation of asbestos, the brownfield registers and sustainable land condition assessments.
A Plastic Ocean
Three UK cities, three consecutive nights and three very different debates. Our documentary screening series of A Plastic Ocean addressed the impact of our linear lifestyle on the marine environment, throwing the spotlight on single-use plastic and the responsibility that sits with government, industry, scientists and consumers to switch off the plastic tap. Our film series will continue in 2019; keep an eye out in the new year, we could be coming to a city near you. Yet again, another IES publication accompanied this event; Issues for the marine environment edition was published in October with a launch event taking place in Plymouth. Tackling problems deeper than plastic, this edition included articles on submarine volcanos, the blue economy and an interview with the CEO of Surfers against Sewage, Hugo Tagholm.
In August, the IES published a journal tackling the uncertainty and wicked problems that are an unavoidable part of a scientist's everyday life. Unintended consequences in environmental science sought to highlight these uncertainties and prove that - big or small, positive or negative - the unpredictable nature of the natural world cannot be understated. Whether looking at how to reintroduce a missing mammal into its relic habitat or how solar farms impact field biodiversity, this edition was a firm favourite for many members (and the IES office) this year.
Miracle on 140 London Wall – Membership and Professional Registers
2018 saw incredible growth in both IES memberships and professional registers. In total, membership grew by 40% over the year, with record highs across all grades, including IAQM membership.
The IES has underpinned its position as the place for environmental professionals to become Chartered. This year, we rapidly increased the frequency of our CEnv in a Day workshops to 18 to support nearly 100 members in their journey to becoming a Chartered Environmentalist. In 2019, we will focus our attention on developing a congruent CSci workshop, to provide greater support, speed and rigour to our aspiring Chartered Scientists.
In addition to our existing registers - CEnv, CSci and ESOS Lead Energy Assessor - we extended our offering to accommodate a new designation to recognise technicians and technical professionals working within the environmental science sector, Registered Environmental Technician. Since its successful summer launch, we have already helped 2 new members gain REnvTech status, with more applications presently under review.
A CHESmas Carol – Education and Development
The IES education arm, the Committee of Heads of Environmental Sciences (CHES), added a further 10 degree programmes from 4 universities to its accreditation scheme, ensuring exceptional environmental science education is delivered both nationally and internationally. Furthermore, the Committee re-accredited 9 existing programmes as part of its commitment to assuring high quality teaching and learning.
In April, CHES and the IES held a workshop at Manchester Metropolitan University, Sharing Best Practice in Employability, which explored institutional approaches to delivering effective career provisions for environmental science graduates. This workshop brought together representatives from 13 academic institutions and 10 commercial organisations to discuss key challenges affecting graduate employability in the environmental sector and priority areas for improvement, leading to the CHES publication of A collaborative approach to improving graduate employment outcomes in October 2018.