Some of you will have signed the ‘Shift to a Wellbeing Economy: put the health of people and planet first‘ petition.
MPs will hold a debate on the wellbeing economy approach to meeting climate goals on Tuesday 30 November 2021 in Westminster Hall. The debate will be led by Caroline Lucas MP.
The debate will start at 4.30pm and last for up to an hour.
Watch the debate: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Commons
You’ll be able to read a transcript of the debate a few hours after it happens: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-11-30
TCAG’s submission of comments to Caroline Lucas MP prior to the debate
What should a wellbeing economy prioritise?
A wellbeing economy should prioritise the health and wellbeing of us and the environment, and not purely the financial economy as happens currently.
The cost to our health and associated healthcare should be taken into account when projects and plans are being decided upon.
The cost to our environment should also be taken into account, for without a healthy environment we cannot live a healthy life, or potentially any life at all (climate emergency).
Now more than ever we are seeing the importance of maintaining and protecting our health and wellbeing. More and more have become more aware of the importance and value of our greenspaces and environment. We’ve all valued getting out in nature more throughout the pandemic.
Nature and our health and wellbeing are all interconnected and we need to put value on that and it needs to be taken into account with all decisions that are made by government. We need an economy that doesn’t just focus on money, but also the health and wellbeing of us and the environment.
How should the Treasury’s economic priorities adapt to achieve our goals on climate change and biodiversity loss?
The Treasury need to ensure that the real costs are taken into account when making decisions on spending. No longer can or should more money be spent on destroying our environment and wellbeing than saving and protecting it. For example the amount being spent on planting trees is far less than being spent on hugely destructive and harmful projects that amongst other things are destroying the trees and woodlands we already have, including priceless ancient woodlands.
Priority needs to be given to the fact that there is no escaping that we need a healthy planet to support life, both human life and all other life. That value of the environment supporting our existence needs to be given value and priority, and should be taken into account with all decision making.
We need realistic values put in place for a wellbeing economy, not greenwash. Actions to back up all the talk we keep hearing. The Treasury should not be backing things that are destructive and harmful, the proposed Lower Thames Crossing being the perfect example of a huge spend of taxpayers money that is not fit for purpose and would be hugely destructive and harmful.
We would specifically comment in regard to the proposed Lower Thames Crossing that one of National Highways ‘selling points’ of the LTC is the economic benefit, yet they fail to provide an actual estimated figure. They have failed to provide adequate info and detail of the true destruction and negative impacts of the project too. For decisions of projects like this it should be compulsory that all relevant info and detail is provided prior to the Development Consent Order (DCO) to enable everyone to be able to make informed decisions based on the true cost of the project, including the cost to health, wellbeing, and the environment. This level of info and detail, and consideration should be compulsory on all development projects from the very beginning of any proposals, and should not be progressed without the true costs, including those to the wellbeing of people and the planet, being taken into account.
There is evidence to show the false economy of the proposed LTC, and how it would not meet any of the project objectives.
We need Policies and Bills to be reviewed and updated to reflect a wellbeing economy, and to reflect the legally binding commitments that this country has made, and all policies should be suspended whilst such reviews and updates are made. We need to see things like the roads policy including Carbon Net Zero commitments. We need things like World Health Organization (WHO) standards on PM2.5 enshrined into UK law to improve the air and environment. The proposed Lower Thames Crossing would emit over 5 million tonnes of Carbon Emissions, and would fail against WHO standards for PM2.5. Yet the government are proposing spending over £8.2bn on LTC, and using economic benefit and growth as a selling point, while failing to disclose let alone acknowledge and address how hugely destructive and harmful it would be. We need the government to start backing up all the talk with actions about concerns over climate change and health, we need a government that puts wellbeing economy first. Try counting all the financial growth when there is no clean air to breathe and our planet can no longer support human and other life. And to the money focused sceptics out there, if we are wrong we end up with a cleaner greener place to call home, if you are wrong the outcome is unthinkable. We all deserve better and things need to change now.
Thank you for taking the time to read our comments, and for holding this debate, we hope it will be a starting point towards the change that we all need. Should you wish to discuss any of our comment in regard to your debate, or the proposed LTC in general please don’t hesitate to contact us!