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Is the green revolution stalling?

By Laura Brown - 11 May 2011 15:34:1 GMT
Is the green revolution stalling?

The number of jobs in the environment sector is getting smaller as growth stalls, according to a new report.

In a new survey, Environment Data Services (ENDS) polled 2000 environmental professionals. Carried out with support from the Society for the Environment (SocEnv) and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), the report found that the green revolution promised by the government has floundered, leading to accusations in the industry that those in power are procrastinating.

Flying in the face of claims of being the ''greenest ever'' government, the survey instead found that while there is investment in waste and carbon, the outlook for the rest of the industry is grim. Jobs are being lost while pay and conditions are reduced.

Those polled reported salaries are not rising. Despite those in the environment sector being generally larger than the national average it discovered there remains a north/south divide. Two in five have seen their pay frozen, one in nine have received a pay cut in 5% have had their pay review deferred. In comparison a survey by pay analysts Incomes Data Services found that across the private sector pay has risen on average by 2%. The issue is compounded by the fact that new jobs promised for the sector are not materialising fast enough.

The Editor-in-Chief of ENDS Nick Rowcliffe says the survey should be seen as a ''wake up call for government''. He adds, ''Real progress towards a greener economy is going to require exactly the multi-disciplinary skills that have built up over years in the environmental profession, and which are now under threat.''

Meanwhile the Executive Director of CIWEM, Nick Reeves said ''even in a period of economic weakness'' can we really afford not to ''invest in a low-carbon economy for a new way of living''.

Despite understanding the need to reduce the deficit he warned the environment being treated as just another form of expenditure to be trimmed in budget cuts, which poses severe risk for infrastructure and the economy in the future.