The government’s 25-year environment plan announced in 2018 set out ambitious goals for tackling pollution and wildlife decline – but a new report has warned that a lack of skills suitable for green jobs threatens to undermine progress.
The Environmental Audit Committee’s green jobs report has highlighted “skills gaps” across crucial sectors and predicts the UK won’t hit long-term goals on the environment and climate without further investment in training programmes. Areas such as land management and species conservation are most in the most dire need.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds warned that the UK workforce “does not, and is not on track to, have the skills and capacity needed to deliver the green jobs required to meet its net zero target and other environmental ambitions”.
Some of the gaps highlighted included a lack of training among farmers and landowners with regards to environmentally-friendly land management and a “severe skills shortage in ecologists” on boosting animal and plant life.
Currently, neither the 25 year environment plan nor any plans and strategies released under the plan include an assessment of skills gaps and how these might affect environmental aims.
According to the EAC’s report, Defra is planning to create a general skills gap plan to address this issue.