Source: Friends of the Earth
The next leader of the Conservative Party and the next Prime Minister must aspire to make the UK a global leader on climate change, nature restoration and environmental health. The environment needs to be centre stage in their campaign. Below are 10 commitments that a candidate, who’s genuinely commited to the environment, should be comfortable in making. If delivered, they would make a substantial difference to people’s lives and the environment and demonstrate global leadership.
- Invest in the biggest ever UK-wide home insulation programme through a council-led street by street programme and provide additional financial support to low-income households.
- Reject calls for the scrapping of the moratorium on fracking and the development of any new oil, gas, or coal extraction and instead say ‘yes’ to the rapid growth of onshore and offshore renewable energy.
- Accept the Office for Environmental Responsibility’s recommendations for stronger targets for nature restoration and air quality, reverse plans to weaken habitats and environmental assessment laws, and swiftly implement the Environmental Land Management Scheme to reward nature-friendly farming.
- Support calls for the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment to be recognised by the UN General Assembly and put this into UK law, as an essential part of protecting people’s health and eradicating environmental inequalities.
- Fix the Net Zero Strategy so it delivers on legally binding carbon reduction targets and the commitments made at COP26, ensuring all departments in Whitehall deliver their part, including the Treasury.
- Decentralise power and resources to devolved nations and councils so that they can properly eradicate environmental inequalities, deliver on the Climate Change Act, restore nature and ensure planning rules are in line with the climate and ecological emergency.
- Introduce a new UK Business, Human Rights and Environment Act to make companies accountable for environmental damage and human rights abuses in their overseas supply chains and to eliminate the UK’s role in global deforestation.
- Follow through on the UK’s world-leading commitment to ending the financing of fossil fuel projects abroad by speeding up the decarbonisation of the UK Export Finance agency’s portfolio. This must include withdrawing funding from the Mozambique gas project and switching financial support to renewable energy.
- Ensure all new trade deals have strong, enforceable climate change and nature protection safeguards and that food standards and nature-friendly farming are not undermined by imports produced to lower environmental standards.
- Make the UK a beacon of democracy by reversing draconian restrictions on protest, guarantee the independence of the Electoral Commission, stop the attacks on the Human Rights Act, and ensure citizens can challenge unjust decisions through the courts.