Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has won the lifetime achievement award at the first Political Purpose Awards for her unwavering commitment to environmental causes.
The event was hosted on Monday (25 September) in the House of Lords by Nature 2030, an environmental campaign group founded and run by purpose-led communications agency Higginson Strategy.
Caroline was recognised for a roster of work including the Climate and Ecology Bill and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (Amendment) Bill, extending the rights of public access to the countryside.
The former leader of the Green Party, who is set to stand down at the next election after a 13-year parliamentary career, also chartered last year’s Decarbonisation and Economic Strategy Bill.
‘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.’
CAROLINE LUCAS MP
Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award
London Mayor Sadiq Khan was given the award for Habitats, Biodiversity & Green Spaces for his work to improve biodiversity in the UK’s capital.
Sadiq shared an acceptance speech via video message from New York Climate Week, saying:
‘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.’
Conservative peer Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park won in the Wildlife Protection category for his work leading the UK delegation at COP15 earlier this year.
Labour shadow Energy Secretary Dr Alan Whitehead, was the winner of the Green Energy and Renewables Award.
Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, was the winner in the Pollution, Waste & Air category for introducing the Clean Air (Human Rights) Law, often known as ‘Ella’s Law’.
The award was presented by Rosamund Adoo Kissi Debrah, the inspiring campaigner whose daughter Ella Roberta was the inspiration for the law which aims to enshrine clean air as a human right.
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.
The inaugural Political Purpose Awards recognised the efforts of UK politicians from the House of Commons, House of Lords, devolved assemblies and mayors representing both metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas who supported and championed environmental causes over the last year.
The winners were selected by a panel of campaigners, NGOs and journalists who are deeply involved in environmental causes and therefore exposed to the best environmental work by elected representatives.
Judges this year included Will McCallum, joint executive director of Greenpeace UK; founder of Surfers Against Sewage and current executive director at Oceana, Hugo Tagholm and Born Free Foundation advocate and chair of Nature 2030, Dominic Dyer.
The awards were opened by broadcaster and campaigner Chris Packham, who emphasised the importance of the politicians campaigning on environmental issues.
‘Too often politicians see the environment as secondary to the myriad 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 do not feel the same way. Any party that does not take the protection of nature seriously will be punished at the ballot box.’
Broadcaster and campaigner
Nature 2030 is a campaign group run by purpose-driven communications agency Higginson Strategy.
The campaign group aims to bring together environmentalists, campaigners, influencers, politicians, businesses and individuals to find solutions to the pressures facing global nature.
At the awards, Nature 2030 announced the launch of the ‘Greener Britain’ campaign which, along with experts and local councils, will promote the rewilding of green spaces in the UK to increase biodiversity. A particular area of focus will be on protecting flora and fauna to decrease the current extinction rate.