‘Greenest government ever’ gets red card on environment

The UK Government is doing worse at reducing air pollution, protecting wildlife and preventing flooding, a group of MPs have said. The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) assessed 10 areas of […]

Register now!

By Priyanka Shrestha

The UK Government is doing worse at reducing air pollution, protecting wildlife and preventing flooding, a group of MPs have said.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) assessed 10 areas of environmental policy and gave a “red card” on the efforts made since 2010.

The MPs said a further seven green issues deserved a “yellow card”, showing unsatisfactory progress.

Prime Minister David Cameron had said he was committed to leading the “greenest government ever” after coming into power four years ago.

On air quality, the EAC found emissions of airbourne pollutants rose in 2013 after being steady for a number of years prior to that. Under the EU directive, the UK failed to meet the standards required in 34 of the nation’s 43 zones.

The Committee’s report also found climate change is putting increased pressure on coastal and flooding defences and around 2.4 million properties are still at risk from flooding from rivers or the sea and three million are at risk from surface water.

The EAC is calling for the creation of new legal commitments to protect the environment and to be overseen by a new ‘Office for Environmental Responsibility’. It is also urging political parties to consider environmental protection in their manifestos.

Chair of the Committee Joan Walley MP said: “Our inquiry provides a wide ranging examination of the state of the environment and shows that further and continued effort is required to protect it properly.”

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) said it is “deeply committed” to improving the environment and “completely disagreed” with the Committee’s assessment

A spokesperson added: “We will be spending more than £3.2 billion – compared to £2.7 billion in the last Parliament – on protecting the country from floods. We are also working to improve air and water quality and to protect wildlife habitats both on land and at sea.”