Government has a duty to do all it can to protect citizens. The development of government climate and environment policy and legislation has left a yawning gap that is becoming ever more evident as the harm/ threats grow. Policy and law has been developed without proper regard for the welfare of children and the differential impact on them of our worsening climate crisis.
We are proposing that all current policy and legislation pays due regard to our duty of care to children by review of these documents from the perspective of child safeguarding. The review should consider the impact of the area being addressed on children and whether the policy and legislation developed adequately meets the needs of children to protect them from these impacts.
In addition, we recommend that all new environment policy and legislation is developed with the integral involvement of child safeguarding professionals. These professionals should be trained and experienced in prioritising the welfare of children, and have the capacity and resources to seek expert evidence regarding the impacts on children of the associated areas of climate harm, and bring the expressed views and needs of children. This properly reflects the values and tenets of our child protection framework and will ensure that children's needs will not be neglected in the UK's national response to the climate crisis.