The Environmental Audit Committee has said the government has failed to tackle air pollution, protect biodiversity and prevent flooding, therefore earning a ‘red card’ on its handling of green issues. In a new report, the committee also called on parties to give top priority to environmental protection in their manifestos.
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The committee has reviewed the government’s actions since 2010, when it pledged to be ‘the greenest government ever’.
It concluded that inaction over dangerous air pollution is “not acceptable” and is putting young generations at risk. The government also failed to protect wildlife, as invasive species are on the rise and three out of four types of bird populations have declined over the years.
Flooding prevention is also highlighted as an area that needs improvement, following the disruption caused by extreme weather over the last few years.
The committee concluded that a new Environmental Strategy should be implemented and an Office for Environmental Responsibility should be created to deal with environmental matters more efficiently.
Committee chair Joan Walley said, “Effective action on environmental protection is essential, both during the current Parliament and beyond. Parties should therefore be considering credible environmental protection in their manifestos. I want them to use our report as both a wake-up call and a template for the measured that need to be put forward.
“Consistent action by successive governments will help ensure that the benefits of nature are available to future generations as much as they are to ours.”
Commenting on the committee’s scorecard, Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns Andrew Pendleton said, “It is little surprise that MPs believe the government is failing the environment – the coalition’s green record is abysmal.
“The prime minister’s decision to engage again with climate change by attending next week’s summit in New York is a welcome step forward, but real leadership requires action at home – not more hot air.”
Photo: soosalu via Flickr