Voters expect this new government to keep the environment at the heart of its decision-making, as we Conservatives have done for the past twelve years.
We won a landslide majority in 2019 on a manifesto promising bold action to deliver net zero by 2050, keep the ban on fracking unless new evidence says it’s safe, and reform farm payments. These are promises we must keep.
The Prime Minister is right to make boosting economic growth a top priority. With higher growth rates, we can create better-paid jobs, invest in better public services and the environment, and keep taxes low. But that does not mean de-prioritising our green conservative agenda.
We must grasp our chance to scrap the EU’s failed Common Agriculture Policy. Our new farm payment schemes for England are a fairer system for farmers and taxpayers.
As the minister who delivered the Environment Act, I know that paying farmers and landowners to deliver public goods like cleaner rivers, more wildlife and healthier soils benefits all of us. And it’s vital we halt the decline in nature using the Environment Land Management schemes, enabling farmers to meet our legally binding targets, bolster our food security and boost rural communities.
We must also focus on delivering net zero, building cheap renewables, and insulating homes to reduce emissions, create new clean industries and jobs, and lower household bills. If the fracking ban is to be lifted, communities must be able to say no, and we must be sure it is safe.
During the leadership contest, the Prime Minister pledged to “double down” on net zero to tackle climate change and halt the decline of nature by 2030.
But we must not only act but tell the public what we’re doing. The Labour Party will ditch our business-friendly approach to green issues in favour of expensive, big government measures. They want to steal our environmental leadership mantel. We can’t let them.
The Prime Minister has a golden opportunity to deliver on the legacy of Margaret Thatcher, who first raised the spectre of climate change on the world stage. By delivering on climate and nature commitments, she can cement the Conservatives as the party that will protect our planet and grow our economy.
First published by the Daily Express. Rebecca Pow MP (Taunton Deane) is a member of the Conservative Environment Network.