A diverse range of major environmental groups have rallied around a call for the Prime Minister David Cameron to clarify the government’s approach to renewables.
In a public letter sent to the PM, the coalition of environmental groups which includes CPRE, National Trust and the RSPB among others, questioned the Conservative’s environmental commitment.
The government has either cut or scrapped ten key environmental policies within the first three months of its term and has failed to provide any clarity over possible replacements.
The letter reads: “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, ten 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.”
Shaun Spiers, chief executive for CPRE said that the government’s “overall record on the environment has been woeful”. Spiers has urged Cameron to “assert himself” and protect the long-term future of the wider environment.
Dame Helen Ghosh, director-general, National Trust, added: “Government has to play its role in setting the right regulatory and fiscal framework – and the recent shift in policy positions is worrying.”
The Conservative government has been undertaking a “big reset” of green policies in order to tackle a perceived overspend in renewable funding under the levy control framework. Commentators have expressed concerns that the UK will undermine its calls for a strong global climate change agreement in Paris this year because the spate of cancellations to domestic environmental policies weakens the UK’s negotiating position.
In addition, International manufacturing giant Siemens has warned that the government’s policy interventions have “discouraged investment” by introducing “doubt and uncertainty” into UK energy policy. Speaking to The Financial Times, Matthew Knight, head of energy strategy at Siemens UK said: “We need to take energy policy out of party politics so that political risk does not push up the cost of every type of generation.”