Responses to Theresa May’s environment speech:
Greenpeace: We need a 25-month emergency plan for nature, not a 25-year vision
Commenting on Theresa May’s speech on the environment and the publication of the government’s 25-year plan for nature, Greenpeace UK’s executive director John Sauven said:
‘Britain’s natural environment needs a 25-month emergency plan more than it needs a 25-year vision. If the government’s aim is to get through to young voters, they need to offer change that happens before these youths turn middle age. They should start by rolling out more robust and swift measures to stop plastic waste harming our oceans, clean up illegal air pollution and support the clean energy sources that can help stop climate change.
“If Theresa May wants to persuade people this is more than just husky-hugging, she needs to put some joined-up thinking at the heart of her strategy. You can’t claim to care about climate change and our countryside and then back fracking, or care about the next generation and then let air pollution harm our kids’ health.
“The environment is now a mainstream concern in this country, with millions of people caring deeply about it. Theresa May has a unique opportunity to rise to the challenge and make Britain a global leader in environmental protection. She should not waste it.’.
Friends of the Earth: We can’t afford to wait 25 years to tackle threats to our health and the planet
Reacting to Theresa May’s green speech and publication of the government’s 25 year plan for the environment today, Friends of the Earth’s CEO Craig Bennett who attended the Prime Minister’s speech and launch of the government’s 25 year environment plan said:
‘A long-term vison for protecting our environment is essential, but the government can’t keep turning a blind eye to the urgent action needed now to protect our health and planet from toxic air and climate-wrecking pollution.
It’s time to stop tinkering at the margins and get to the heart of the problems – especially the nation’s fossil fuels addiction.
Ministers must pull the plug on coal, gas and oil, end its support for fracking and develop the UK’s huge renewable power potential.
25 years is a long way off – particularly for a government that might not last 25 weeks. We need action now.’.
Commenting on the government’s pledge to end avoidable plastic waste in 25 years, Friends of the Earth waste campaigner Julian Kirby said:
“If it’s avoidable waste, why is it taking us a quarter of a century to get there? The government – and Mr. Gove in particular – have made bold statements about ending plastic pollution, but so far their record doesn’t match the rhetoric.
Under the Conservatives, English recycling rates have stalled and we’re burning ever more recyclable waste, even though in 2010 they committed to a ‘zero waste economy’.
Plastic pollution is toxic for life and must be stopped at source – governments must act now to ensure the firms responsible for creating this plastic mess take responsibility clearing it up and preventing it.”
The plan is a strong start, and it’s good to see the government putting the environment firmly on the agenda. But, we need to see them going further and faster. If we wait until 2042 to end plastic waste, as the plan suggests, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea.
We want to see a ban on single-use plastic by 2025, and more urgent action on dirty air, climate change and protecting our precious natural heritage.
Back in 2011 the government promised we would be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.
The 25 Year Environment Plan is their long-term vision for how we’ll achieve this.
Everyone depends on nature. It underpins our economy and our wellbeing, from the food we eat to the air we breathe.
But our environment is in crisis and it’s getting worse: sea mammals and birds are being killed by plastic litter, people are being poisoned by air pollution, and flooding is costing our economy billions.
The tide can be turned and the government’s plan includes some bold ambitions for making this happen.
The UK is the world’s fifth largest economy, importing food and other goods from all over the planet.
As the UK looks to strike trade deals with other countries when it leaves the EU, we can’t allow short-term gains to come at the expense of people and nature overseas. That’s why we’ve been talking to the government on the need for the plan to have a global vision.
We’re pleased that it includes commitments to keep the protection of species at the top of the international agenda.
The Prime Minister announced steps to tackle the plastic pollution crisis wrecking our oceans, such as extending the 5p plastic bag levy and supporting plastic-free supermarket aisles.
These are all positive steps, but they don’t go far enough fast enough.
We need to move towards an end to single-use plastics now, or our oceans will choke on litter.
On air pollution, which causes 40,000 premature deaths in the UK every year, it’s good to see a target to halve its health impacts by 2030. But we still believe the ban on petrol and diesel cars must happen sooner.
This could be a turning point for the UK’s relationship with the environment, where we begin to restore nature rather than destroy it.
The plan is an important first step, but the commitments will only become a reality if they are backed by the force of law, money and a new environmental watchdog with the power to make sure the government lives up to its promises.
We’ve worked hard to ensure this plan is as ambitious as possible and won’t stop until these promises become reality.
Join us and help us put an end to the environmental crisis.
Martin Harper, the RSPB’s Global Conservation Director said:
‘Today’s 25 Year Environment Plan is a welcome acknowledgement that we must make a generation-long commitment to saving nature. We applaud the ambition of the plan; now we need to see the radical action it proposes enshrined in law.
Unfortunately there is no quick fix for the threats faced by nature; we need the challenge to be owned by departments across government. And as our problems are not restricted to one country, it is essential that all four governments in the UK – in Westminster, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – work together. This will help to create an approach that helps nature recover in all of the UK and its overseas territories. Together we can provide international leadership on the environment, even in challenging times.’.
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