Today’s columnist, MP Paul Blomfield: Green policy needs rethink

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When the Automobile Association starts attacking the Government for their failure to meet the challenge of climate change, you know that something’s going badly wrong.

The AA statement followed a survey of motorists indicating that sales of polluting cars would increase following Chancellor George Osborne’s decision to scrap tax breaks for low emission petrol and hybrid vehicles.

Those tax breaks were introduced by the Labour Government not simply to encourage motorists towards greener cars, but to change the attitudes of motor manufacturers.

And it’s worked.

We’ve seen a huge growth in low emission vehicles – benefitting the environment and cutting fuel bills for motorists. But the AA warn that will all change now.

It’s only the latest in a series of Government decisions to end policies put in place by Labour to help us meet the challenge of climate change.

In June I challenged Environment Secretary Amber Rudd over her decision to end support for onshore wind farms, which is the most cost-effective form of renewable energy.

Then she left it until Parliament broke up for the summer to sneak out an announcement slashing support for solar energy – something I’ll be taking up in September.

Across the board the Government is cutting support for renewable energy, while letting companies engaged in the controversial process of ‘fracking’ for shale gas pay less tax – to ‘incentivise’ what is a highly risky and insufficiently regulated business. Back in 2010 David Cameron promised the greenest Government ever, but his policies are more in line with his reputed wish to “cut the green crap”.

In June I met students from All Saints School who travelled to Westminster to press MPs to take more action on climate change. They know what the consequences of our failure to take action will be; higher temperatures, droughts, rising sea levels. And, as parts of the world become uninhabitable, we’ll see the emergence of climate refugees.

This isn’t an issue just for politicians. We have our role to play, and it’s important that people keep lobbying us on the issue. But we can all make changes – from recycling and creating less waste to opting for green energy suppliers. We need more action, not less, to tackle climate change, and I will be pushing the Government to re-think its strategy.