Last night, the Political Purpose Awards were hosted in the House of Lords by Higginson Strategy’s internal campaign group, Nature 2030.
Opened by Chris Packham on a critical day in Parliament for the UK’s net zero goals, the ceremony acknowledged the UK politicians who have been the most dedicated to supporting and championing environmental causes over the last year.
Among the winners were London Mayor Sadiq Khan whose work to improve biodiversity in London saw him winning in the Habitats, Biodiversity & Green Spaces category. Khan gave an acceptance speech via video message from New York Climate Week.
He said: “Thank you to all the members of the Nature 2030 judging panel. I’m delighted our efforts have been recognised at the first ever Political Purpose Awards.
“Nature sustains life on earth but as we know it is under threat as never before. Cities have a vital role in protecting and preserving our planet and I’m determined to show right here in London that cities can be responsible custodians of the natural world.”
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas took home the Lifetime Achievement Award for her unwavering commitment to environmental causes.
Lucas was recognised for a roster of work including the Climate and Ecology Bill, the Decarbonisation and Economic Strategy Bill and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (Amendment) Bill, extending the rights of public access to the countryside.
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park won the Wildlife Protection Award for his work leading the UK delegation at COP15 earlier this year.
Dr Alan Whitehead MP was the winner of the Green Energy and Renewables Award and Wales’s First Minister Mark Drakeford MS was commended for his work addressing river pollution and blocking fracking amid policy rollbacks in England, winning the award for Marine Environment.
Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb won the Pollution, Waste & Air category for taking the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill, often known as ‘Ella’s Law’, through the House of Lords.
The award was presented by Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, the campaigner whose daughter Ella Roberta was the inspiration for the law which aims to enshrine clean air as a human right.
Winners were selected by a panel of campaigners, NGOs and journalists including Dominic Dyer, Chair of Nature 2030; Will McCallum, co-Executive Director of Greenpeace; Hugo Tagholm, UK Executive Director of Oceana; James Wallace, CEO of River Action; Alex Doorey, Vice President Marketing, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at OVO; Sara Vaughan, Sustainability Strategist and former Vice President of Unilever and Anastasia Zawierucha, Head of Public Affairs at CPRE.
Commenting on the awards, Chris Packham said:
“Too often politicians see the environment as secondary to the myriad of other issues they are expected to work on. All the recipients of this year’s awards are shining examples of what can happen when our elected representatives commit their time and energy to protecting nature.
“While the current Government view environmental policy and stewardship as an afterthought, we know that the electorate does not feel the same way. Any party that does not take the protection of nature seriously will be punished at the ballot box.”
Caroline Lucas MP, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award said:
“It is an incredible honour to be the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Political Purpose Awards. During my time in Parliament, the environment has shifted from the margins to the mainstream. Public interest in and care for our natural world, especially amongst young people, has never been higher.
But we still face an ecological crisis of epic proportions, and it’s up to our politicians to tackle it with the urgency required. I sincerely hope that no political party is let off the hook when it comes to their environmental policies going into the next general election – because we all depend on it.”
As the evening came to a close, Higginson Strategy announced the launch of Nature 2030’s ‘Greener Britain’ campaign which, along with experts and local councils, will promote the rewilding of green spaces in the UK bringing biodiversity in line with the United Nations 30×30 goal.