In the first three months of the new Government 10 different environmental policies have been watered down or scrapped.
These range from support for renewable energy technology and tax exemptions for low carbon vehicles, which have existed for over a decade, to privatisation of the Green Investment Bank and the scrapping of the Green Deal, the establishment of both being achievements celebrated by the last Conservative-led government.
Protection for the natural environment has also been weakened with a u-turn on a ban on fracking in protected areas. And the UK has cited an ‘emergency’ to exempt itself from an EU-wide ban on neonicotinoids.
Environmental leaders have called on the Prime Minister, as a matter of urgency, to clarify his government’s approach to environmental protection and climate security in what is a vital year for action on climate change.
In a public letter to the Prime Minister, written in response to the findings, the heads of the UK’s leading environmental groups said:
“We welcomed the Conservative manifesto commitment to ‘being the first generation to leave the natural environment of England in a better state than that in which we found it’. Unfortunately, 10 green policies which could have helped you to achieve these goals have been cancelled or weakened in the past three months. These policies were developed over many years, often with cross party backing, and with the support and involvement of many businesses and charities. Only one of these decisions, to end subsidies for onshore wind, was a commitment from your manifesto. We have, as yet, seen no positive new measures introduced to restore the health of our environment or grow the low carbon economy.”
Stephanie Hilborne, OBE, Chief Executive of the Wildlife Trusts said, “This list of recent policy reversals is shocking, and shows disregard for the health and wellbeing of current and future generations, as well as for the environment we all depend on. The Prime Minister should reset the government’s path as a matter of urgency, by reinstating these policies.”