Green groups say all main parties failing on green leadership

Nick Clegg Cathkin MarshSeven key environment groups have given their verdict on the environmental performance of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband. Their report, Green Standard 2013, is pretty condemning.

After a promising first few months, the coalition government and the UK’s senior politicians have been largely silent about the UK’s environmental goals. The prime minister’s promise that he would lead “the greenest government ever” has been devalued by the chancellor’s framing of high environmental standards as a threat to economic success.

David Cameron is castigated for having failed to address climate change scepticism among members of his party. The green groups says he now needs to rebuild support in the party for a green agenda to reconnect with mainstream public opinion in the UK. Owen Paterson is singled out for “publicly rejecting evidence of human-induced climate change and, in doing so, threatens to undermine evidence-based policy making on this issue.”

The authors praise Labour for its work up to Copenhagen but castigate it for “treating environmental sustainability as a bolt-on to its main economic and social objectives.” They say Miliband is giving promising leadership on the low carbon economy, but has no programme for government.

For Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems, they say:

The Liberal Democrats have won some significant battles on climate change. But they need to develop a bolder and more holistic approach to environmental sustainability in government, particularly for the natural environment, if they wish to continue to claim to be a ‘green’ party. The leadership must defend the fourth carbon budget and deliver an energy framework compatible with decarbonisation. The importance of the environment for ensuring economic renewal should be heard from all senior Liberal Democrat ministers… The party needs to realise its ambition for localism, and address the lack of resources and expert support available for the local councils and local enterprise partnerships that are trying to go green.

The Lib Dems are criticised for having “not found a strong voice on the natural environment or demonstrated an impact from within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.”

Crucially, strong rhetoric on energy has not been replicated in policy detail, with Ed Davey overseeing an energy policy framework that risks a high carbon lock-in incompatible with carbon budgets.

The environmental groups are particularly critical of the “whipped vote against decarbonisation target, contrary to party policy, and a continued willingness to tolerate, and even promote, subsidies for nuclear power.” They say there is “no leadership on the natural environment agenda, and worrying support for policies that damage wildlife.”

David Heath is condemned for “supporting the damaging and unscientific badger cull and buzzard nest destruction. He has also not insisted on effective government action to halt the catastrophic decline of bees and refused to support a ban on neonicotinoids.”

While the stance on biofuels is among the best of all the European member states, Vince Cable “has not supported the phase out of UK taxpayer support for international fossil fuel projects” and is supporting nuclear power.

* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem living in Shropshire, and a former editor for Lib Dem Voice

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in News.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url for Twitter and emails.


  • “People power” is killing off the badger cull. It’s been an amazingly impressive effort from all sections of the community, bringing together people as diverse as hunt sabs and Tory activists in a common cause.

    I know about the Blue Badger Group. Where’s the LibDem equivalent?

    Please what are the LibDems doing to bring the disastrous, disgusting badger killing project to a quick, orderly end?

  • Anwar Ahmad Ansari 15th Sep '13 - 3:11pm

    The levy on plastic bags should be 10p per bag and must be implemented straight way.

  • daft ha'p'orth 15th Sep '13 - 4:06pm

    @Anwar Ahmad Ansari
    Why not a tenner and attendance at a mandatory re-education lecture on the risks of plastic bag use to sea life?

  • Peter Watson 15th Sep '13 - 4:12pm

    @Anwar Ahmad Ansari “The levy on plastic bags should be 10p per bag and must be implemented straight way.”
    I must admit, when the party leader trumpets a new green policy which is simply copying what the Welsh did two years ago, but delaying it for two more years and only applying it to supermarkets … well, it’s hardly inspiring, is it? Do blue and yellow really make green?

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarChris Manners 21st Dec - 2:56pm
    Not convinced by this at all. To have the income at a liveable level, it'll cost a lot more than £4bn extra. And that (presumably)...
  • User AvatarPBBrown 21st Dec - 2:41pm
    Yes, some evidence to back it up would be useful. Or is it a sort of IDS 'I believe' thing ? You can't really extrapolate...
  • User AvatarPaul Pettinger 21st Dec - 2:18pm
    The Govt's economic policy has failed Tim - the challenge following a credit bubble bursting is to maintain investment to drive future growth, rather than...
  • User Avatartheakes 21st Dec - 1:16pm
    Couple of things: you do not mention the local election results where in scores of contests we only poll 1 - 5% identifying that we...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 21st Dec - 1:15pm
    Stephen Donnelly 21st Dec '14 - 1:02pm "Actually that is exactly what we intend to do, and we are rather good at it. " I...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 21st Dec - 1:12pm
    I agree with Tim that there is a big gap in the market for a very good liberal party. However, the problem I see is...