The National Trust has accused Rishi Sunak of kicking the UK’s net zero goals down the road for political expediency after he rowed back on several of the Government’s green plans.
The charity responded after the Prime Minister announced he would delay the ban on new petrol and diesel cars for five years, and pushed back proposed deadlines to end the sale of new gas boilers.
“Future generations will ask why, after these stark signs, the Government would put this country’s global leadership on climate change into reverse,” the charity said. “Fairness should absolutely be central to any change, but it is not fair that our children will have their future blighted by the poor decisions made today.”
The charity urged the Government to rethink the plans, and said “Progress towards net zero must be sustained, not kicked down the road for political expediency.”
‘Trashing our economic future’
The intervention from the charity, which was founded to care for the nation’s coastline, historic sites, countryside and green spaces, came after the Labour Party accused the Government of “trashing our economic future” with its net zero changes.
Ed Miliband, the shadow energy secretary, claimed the decision to delay the ban on new petrol and diesel cars would “trash our economic future” and “load more costs onto the British people”.
“Delaying the phase-out of petrol and diesel cars will add billions in costs to families and damage investor confidence in the UK,” he added.
Polling released on Friday found that the public was divided on whether Mr Sunak was right to water down net zero plans, with 47 per cent thinking Mr Sunak had made the right decision, and 46 per cent saying he had been wrong.
But it also found that most do not trust the Conservatives to protect the environment.
Two-thirds of people told pollster Ipsos they did not trust the Conservatives to make the right decisions on the environment, according to a poll carried out after the announcements.
Among those who voted Conservative in 2019, only 25 per cent said he had got it wrong.