Labour attacks coalition over green policy

28th September 2011

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  • Mitigation ,
  • Adaptation



Labour MPs have lambasted the government's approach to tackling climate change and supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy, at theparty's conference in Liverpool.

Shadow cabinet members Meg Hillier and Mary Creagh accused the coalition of backtracking on Labour measures to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, failing to aid the creation of green jobs and putting the UK’s natural habitats at risk through its controversial planning policy.

Creagh, the shadow environment secretary, led the speeches ridiculing the government’s moves to privatise forests and its subsequent u-turn, before attacking the proposed approach to sustainable development outlined in the draft national planning policy framework.

“How can the government that has cut £2 billion from the environment budget possibly deliver a better environment? How can a government that believes in the small state and is anti-regulation deliver policies that protect our precious planet?” she asked. “The answer is simple: They can't.”

Creagh said the government must do more to support the green agenda to ensure food and energy security, cut waste and create a thriving economy.

“In the past, businesses set up shop where they pleased and made free use of raw materials, water and people. Now the best companies realise that the only long-term business strategy is one which puts sustainability at its heart.”

Shadow energy and climate change minister Meg Hillier, meanwhile labelled DECC the “laughing stock of Whitehall”, claiming it was being trampled by the Treasury and undermined by Downing Street.

She cited the delay of the Green Investment Bank and its inability to borrow capital, changes to the criteria to make all new homes zero carbon by 2016 and the decision to scrap plans for a nationwide network of recharging points for electric cars as examples of green policy failures by the coalition.

“Ministers call this the ‘greenest government ever’. Never has a claim been so much hot air,” she said.

Echoing Creagh’s sentiments, Hiller claimed the key to an economic recovery would be low-carbon growth, particular in green energy.

Hillier went on to criticise energy secretary Chris Huhne for failing to mention the forthcoming summit on climate change in Durban and voiced rumours that the prime minister would not be attending, however, despite these comments Labour leader Ed Miliband said very little on tackling climate change or environmental issues in his address that afternoon.


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