The Government has shown a cavalier disregard for expert advice on the environment and green investment, the union for 68,000 scientists and engineers has said.
Its actions have exposed David Cameron’s pledge to be the greenest Government ever as ‘whitewash’, said Prospect President Nigel Titchen. The UK built up an internationally recognised framework for sustainable development since 2000, but has lost ground in the 16 months since the general election. Since May 2010, the Government has:
- axed funding for the Carbon Trust and the Energy Saving Trust which will receive no core funding from April 2012
- closed the Sustainable Development Commission, which saved at least £15 for every £1 invested
- closed the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. It cost just £1m per year and will leave the Government and the public short of ‘awkward advice’ on critical and complex environmental issues
- transformed its carbon reduction commitment scheme into attacks on low carbon research and an administrative burden to participants
- put all of Britain’s 278 environmental laws in a ‘red tape’ list to be considered for the axe
- cut investment in marine energy from £50m to £20m
- cut Forest Research’s budget by 34%.
Titchen said: “The prime minister’s pledge to be the greenest Government ever has lost its shine. It is effectively divesting itself of all the expertise that should be underpinning its environmental and sustainability policies.
“The Government says its office estate has reduced carbon emissions by almost 14 per cent over the last year. But we question whether it will be able to maintain that momentum if the expertise that helped it achieve those carbon reductions has been lost. The Government needs to act with greater urgency and ambition to stand any chance of justifying its claim.”