Sheffield councillors criticise ‘desperate and dangerous’ government U-turn on green policies
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Mr Sunak said it was a “more pragmatic, proportionate and realistic approach” and insisted the UK would still hit net zero by 2050, despite the major shift in green policies.
He said: “I believe in net zero and I want to deliver it.”
It comes as the Tories try to close the gap on Labour ahead of the next general election.
Two leading Sheffield politicians have fiercely criticised the move saying it will harm the planet and cost people more in the long-term.
Green Party leader Douglas Johnson said: “Rishi Sunak doesn’t care about higher energy bills for people in Sheffield, nor colder homes, fewer jobs, more dirty air and more climate chaos. It’s a desperate and dangerous U-turn from the government and will damage the economy too.
“This is a desperate attempt by an unpopular prime minister chasing a few votes from climate doubters and appeasing their mates in the fossil fuel industry.
“The government should be leading the way by investing in the green economy, not putting the burden onto individuals.”
He said if the Greens were in power they would invest in a way that directly lowered bills as well as carbon emissions such as home insulation and renewable energy.
Liberal Democrats leader Shaffaq Mohammed said: “This is not leadership from Rishi Sunak, this is putting the UK at the back of the queue as the rest of the world races to embrace the industries of tomorrow.
“Most shocking is the fact many of these measures will not even save people money. Dropping plans to insulate homes and move away from gas boilers will mean higher energy bills for Sheffield residents for years to come.
“The prime minister’s legacy will be the hobbling of our country’s future economy as he ran scared from the right wing of his own party. It is selfish and it epitomises his weakness. At the very time we needed him to stand up and lead, Sunak rolled over.
“The facts on climate change are the same, whether Rishi Sunak accepts them or not. The world is watching what we do.”
Changes to government’s green commitments
Among the key changes announced were:
- A five-year delay in the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, meaning a requirement for all new cars to be “zero emission” will not come into force until 2035
- A nine-year delay in the ban on new fossil fuel heating for off-gas-grid homes to 2035
- Raising the Boiler Upgrade Grant by 50 per cent from £5,000 to £7,500 to help households who want to replace their gas boilers
- The ban on the sale of new gas boilers in 2035 remains, but the government will introduce new exemption for poorer households
- Scrapping the requirement on landlords to ensure all rental properties had a Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of grade C or higher, from 2025.