Saturday 22nd October 2016                 Change text size:

Downing Street denies Cameron’s ‘green crap’ comments

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Downing Street has said that it does not recognise the comments allegedly made by Prime Minister David Cameron when he told aides to “get rid of all the green crap” from energy bills.

Referring to the so called ‘green levies’ on energy bills, an unnamed senior Tory said, “The Prime Minister is going round Number 10 saying ‘We have got to get rid of all this green crap’. He is totally focussed on it,” according to reports from The Sun.

However, in a vague denial a Downing Street spokesman has said, “we do not recognise this phrase that they are using on their front page.”

Regardless, the alleged comments have been condemned by environmentalists. Friends of the Earth’s policy and campaigns director Craig Bennett said, “It would come as little surprise if David Cameron did tell aides to ditch the “green crap” – his Government has been attacking environmental policies for years.

“If the Prime Minister wants to stop the drift back towards the toxic Tory party of the past he must take urgent and decisive action to rebuild his eco-credentials.

Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, warned that such reports were only adding to the investor uncertainty that threatens the cleantech industry.

“This has gone too far,” she said. 

“We need a clear statement from the Government – not one party or the other, not one department or the other – but from the Government, on its commitment to delivering the low carbon energy infrastructure this country so desperately needs.”

If true, Cameron’s message is at odds with his comments made only last week in Sri Lanka.

While attending a meeting of the Commonwealth, Cameron told the press, I’m not a scientist, but it’s always seemed to me one of the strongest arguments about climate change is, even if you’re only 90% certain or 80% certain or 70% certain, if I said to you there’s a 60% chance your house might burn down do you want to take out some insurance? You take out some insurance. 

“I think we should think about climate change like that. […] Even if you’re less certain than the scientists it makes sense to act both in terms of trying to prevent and mitigate.”

However, speaking during prime minister’s questions in October, Cameron said he wanted to review whether cutting environmental regulations could reduce rising household bills.

“We need to help people pay their bills and we need to help to get bills down”, he told MPs.

The move has attracted criticism from many, including business leaders, some energy suppliers and the Liberal Democrats.

On Friday, Sir Robert Smith, chairman of the energy and climate change committee and a Lib Dem MP, warned that such a move could even cause energy bills to rise even further. 

The Conservatives had told voters to “vote blue, go green” before the last general election. Later, Cameron pledged to lead “the greenest government ever,” though earlier this week, a report by a number of NGOs said that the coalition has ultimately failed the environment.

Further reading:

Green levy review will put 10,000 jobs at risk across UK

E.ON speaks up against tinkering with green levies

Energy committee to PM: cutting green levies will ‘undermine investor confidence’

The green levies review: when is investor reassurance not reassuring?

Rising energy bills prompt David Cameron to announce green tax review

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