Britain, Brexit and the Bioeconomy: It’s going to be about Scoxit, too

December 12, 2019 |

If the exit polls and early results hold up, the Conservative Party will have won a landslide victory in the 2019 UK General Election, Brexit is on and it will happen in the next 60 days.

The size of the win of the Scottish National Party, exit polls have them at a highwater-mark of around 55 seats — mean that the next years in the UK, the debate is on about Scoxit, the break-up of the 312-year old union of Scotland and Britain. Whether Scotland would wish to become a republic or stay with the monarchy, which would then return to a personal union as existed from the accession of James I and VI in 1603, until the Union in 1707, remains to be seen.

The impact on the Commonwealth, which was intended to be an economic and cultural force after the twilight of the British Empire, also remains to be seen. The Commonwealth could become a new ‘third focus’ for the UK after it repairs its close ties with the EU and continues the ‘special relationship’ as the ‘mother country’ of the United States.

For sure, Britain has historic opportunities in the bioecononmy to take a leadership position by jettisoning the worst of the EU restrictions and adopting new measures to add value to British agriculture, increase British food and energy security, and decarbonize its economy. The EU has been a leader in calling for change in climate policy, negotiating change in climate policy, and failing to deliver very much on climate change results, and the devil has been in the details. The British have an opportunity to take global leadership by taking action on the best and most proven solutions that really drive change, such as Low Carbon Fuel Standard. There’s plenty of waste in the UK to use, and no time to waste at all.

We reported in August that following a July announcement by Velocys that British Airways and Shell invested nearly £3 million in the company, an application for planning permission to build an aviation biofuel production facility near the Humber in North Lincolnshire was submitted for approval to local authorities. Half a million metric tons of MSW is expected to be used as feedstock annually at the proposed site. This is the kind of project that the UK could get behind quickly as a sign of its commitment to a new, revitalized Britain, liberated from the Continent.

As former Commonwealth head and Maltese Prime Minister Dr. Joseph Muscat told the delegates at the Commonwealth Innovation Forum in Brisbane in 2017, “Brexit serves as an impetus to reinvigorate the Commonwealth”.

The British people will take time to digest the impacts of what appears to be a historic election. When the time for reflection gives was to the time for action, we encourage Britain to set an example of leadership and prove that Brexit is a positive step for all.


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