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Former cabinet ministers to help Green Tories pressure government for bolder environmental agenda

Tonight, the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) will unveil its new advisory council, including former cabinet ministers Sir Alok Sharma MP, Sir Simon Clarke MP and Chris Grayling MP, to ensure the government delivers on the UK's ambitious net zero and nature recovery plans. The new 23-strong advisory council brings senior MPs, councillors, academics, and experts from across the conservative movement together to advise CEN. They will help steer CEN’s campaigns to unlock more onshore and offshore renewables, improve home energy efficiency, incentivise sustainable transport options, clean up our rivers and seas, and reward farmers for adopting nature-friendly practices. Its members also include Environmental Audit Committee Chairman Philip Dunne MP, Katherine Fletcher MP, Selaine Saxby MP, Lord Duncan of Springbank, Leader of Cornwall Council Linda Taylor, Leader of Solihull Council Ian Courts, Create Street’s Director Nicholas Boys Smith, Institute of Economic Affairs’ Director of Public Policy and Communications Matthew Lesh, and Public First Founding Partner and 2019 Conservative manifesto co-author Rachel Wolf. CEN Chairman Ben Goldsmith will unveil the new advisory council tonight at an event marking the forum's tenth anniversary, where he will praise the work of conservative environmentalists who have successfully raised our country’s environmental ambitions. CEN's growing network of backbench MPs has included 159 Conservative MPs - almost half the Conservative Party (352 today) - in this Parliament. In the past decade, members of CEN have secured the targets to reach net zero by 2050 and reverse nature's decline by 2030, the new petrol and diesel car phase-out, the phase-out of coal-fired power stations, creation of a blue belt of marine reserves around the UK's Overseas Territories, and ring-fencing of water company fines for environmental improvements.

Sir Alok Sharma MP commented: “Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. As the UK showed at COP26, the leadership of a country with a small share of the world's emissions can make a big difference, raising global ambitions and creating new jobs and industries at home. “The Conservative Environment Network has been a critical voice in keeping environmentalism at the heart of successive Conservative governments. I look forward to working with its many members to ensure the government has a bold and positive environmental agenda ahead of the next election.” Sam Hall, Director of the Conservative Environment Network, commented: "I am delighted that so many senior conservative politicians, academics, and experts have joined CEN's new advisory council to champion net zero and nature restoration. "Since CEN was founded ten years ago, conservative environmentalism has gone from strength to strength, raising the government's environmental ambitions and shaping government policy. "While some conservatives remain sceptical, they are in the minority, with almost half of Conservative MPs signing up to CEN’s principles during this Parliament. The debate has moved to focus on how we deliver on our climate and nature goals in a way that enhances our prosperity and security, not whether we have to act or if humans are responsible for environmental degradation. “As we head toward the next election and the future of conservatism debate continues, we will work to ensure environmental leadership remains at the core of the centre-right politics and to urge conservatives to set out a positive agenda for further environmental action.”

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