UK’s new environment minister consitently voted against environmental protections #UKs #environment #minister #consitently #voted #environmental #protections Welcome to Viasildes, here is the new story we have for you today:
The UK’s new environment minister appears to be further evidence that new Prime Minister Liz Truss is appointing supporters to ministerial roles rather than those qualified to do the job.
Evidence provided by the website “They work for you” on Wednesday, September 7 shows that Ranil Jayawardena has consistently voted against policies that tackle climate change.
Although he supported improved recycling and banning plastic straws, Jayawardena appears to favour a light touch when it comes to environmental regulations that impact on business.
Amongst the bills that he voted against are not to require ministers to have due regard to the target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 when taking actions including setting up agricultural subsidy schemes.
He also voted not to require a ‘climate and nature emergency impact statement’ as part of any proposal for financial assistance under the United Kingdom Internal Market Act.
Another important policy that he voted against was Defra’s own environmental principles, designed, the department said: “To guide ministers and policymakers towards opportunities to prevent environmental damage and enhance the environment, where relevant and appropriate.”
This is a department for which he will have responsibility for ensuring the UK’s food security and in supporting the UK farming sector.
He will also be the government’s lead figure on protecting the environment, as he will be in dealing with the UK’s appalling record on wastewater spills. And although he has voted down environmental policies designed to limit the effects of climate change, he will be responsible for helping the UK’s farming community through the effects of global warming.
He also voted against the principle of the polluter pays, as he did against laws to slash transport emissions by 2030. He was also amongst those who defeated a proposal to bring forward “a green industrial revolution to decarbonise the economy and boost economic growth.”
Despite his record, he has said on his blog that: “Protecting the future environment and standard of living for our local area and beyond is one of great importance.
“This is supported by the volume of correspondence to me from local people. Economic growth and respect for our planet are by no means two opposites.”
Since his appointment he has met with local farmers with the NFU, to discuss the government’s support for British farming and the export growth ahead. Perhaps an indication of the path he will take, the farmers he met with are among the most environmentally damaging on the planet – livestock farmers.
Rebecca Newsom, Head of Politics at Greenpeace UK, told the Independent: “A summer of outcry at our sewage-strewn beaches should give the new secretary of state pause for thought when considering his priorities. The public wants to see our natural world enhanced, not degraded further through cuts to vital protections.
“This new government should seek to strengthen rules meant to stop sewage polluting our rivers and coast, keep plastic from our seas and prevent destructive fishing in our marine protected areas. These aren’t just red tape to be slashed. And far from being a boon, the new secretary of state may find the main thing unleashed by cutting these protections is a wave of public anger as our natural world is further spoiled.”
It remains to be seen whether the UK’s new environment minister changes his tune once in the role, as always it’s easy to vote against policies when they are not your responsibility but less so when they are.
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