Like 48% of the country, I woke up this morning in disbelief. Whilst I respect the decision of the British people and understand that steps will now be taken to extract us from the most successful peace process in history, I worry deeply about what Brexit means for our country’s economy, for jobs and businesses, for our national security, for our arts, for the health service and our leadership in science, not to mention keeping the United Kingdom united.
We were deeply enriched by being part of Europe, for the free trade and movement of goods, labour and capital it enabled, for sharing thoughts and ideas, talent and information and promoting sustainable development and environmental protection.
A subject that was rarely mentioned in the referendum debate – the environment and the transition to a thriving low carbon economy – is something we are really going to have to consider over these next few years as the consequences of yesterday are borne out.
It is as part of the EU that we signed the historic climate deal in Paris last December and through the EU that we negotiate subsea interconnectors with France as well as cooperating on the air quality directive, reducing air pollution including nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulpur oxides (SOx).
The stable nature of the EU made for a good investment market, and allows new energy technologies to flourish and be shared between countries. Our energy policy is bound up with the greater EU goals to reduce carbon emissions and keep global warming below 1.5°C.
With our own government tearing up energy policy, those higher goals helped to comfort me that we would continue to try and work to limit climate change and protect our planet. The coming uncertainty threatens that goal and affects those working in the sector.
Ashden has been supporting our winners through the last year’s upheaval and the fourteen different changes to energy policy. Through workshops, training and presenting a collective voice, we have aimed to help UK businesses and charities to weather the turbulence.
More than ever, we will work with Ashden winners and Ashden partners to present a united face for sustainable energy, celebrating always our successes and striving further to reach a low carbon society.
Whilst we cannot yet be sure what effect this referendum result will have on jobs, investment, or our climate change targets, we will continue to do all we can to support the UK’s sustainable energy sector.