Sunak warned over any watering down of green policies
Environmental groups will “not stand by” if ministers move to water down environmental and climate commitments, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been warned.
The Woodland Trust, the RSPB, the National Trust and the RSPCA are among the organisations, claiming to represent 20 million people, who have written to Mr Sunak expressing alarm about any downgrading of green policies.
It comes after Conservative success in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election saw some Tories push for ministers to re-consider the push for net zero by 2050, with the narrow victory there pinned on local opposition to the expansion of London’s ultra-low emissions zone (Ulez).
Mr Sunak has said he wants a “proportionate and pragmatic” approach to achieving net zero amid cost-of-living pressures.
In the letter campaigners warn Mr Sunak: “We will not stand by whilst politicians use the environment as a political football.
“It is courage and leadership that we need now.
“In the past, we have mobilised many of our members collectively with extraordinary results, and our resolve to stand firm now against any and all attacks on this critical policy agenda remains absolute.”
The coalition calls for an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss the climate and environmental crises, as well as “public reassurances” on his intention to take action.
“There is no public mandate for a delay. It is therefore with deep alarm that we have read reports over the last few weeks of your government considering watering down its commitments on almost every front of environmental policy,” they told Mr Sunak.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday, Woodland Trust chief executive Darren Moorcroft said it was “incumbent” on them to act.
He said signatories of the letter would not be shy in speaking out ahead of the upcoming general election, expected next year.
“We will make our voices heard with regard to how people should view any political party as it runs into the general election on what it is doing for the environment.
“So instead of backtracking on environmental policies, we believe every political party that’s serious about winning should be setting out plans to get those good green jobs, to get cleaner air and seas to restore our natural environment.”
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