The Reader: Tories’ green policies need a reality check

An ice sculpture takes the place of Boris Johnson in the Channel 4 leaders debate: AP

If Andrew Sells — the former chairman of Natural England and, crucially, a Tory donor — truly believes that the Conservative Party has “radical and far-sighted” environmental policies , he needs a reality check. A quick glance at its woeful track record shows that it’s failing our planet on every count.

The UK is now set to miss its legally binding targets to tackle air pollution. Neither are we going to meet our internationally agreed biodiversity targets, and we’ll fall well short of our goal of planting 11 million trees by 2022. Futhermore, the Government has abandoned plans to conserve half of England’s best wildlife sites by next year.

Britain won’t reach the EU’s requirements to recycle or reuse 50 per cent of household waste by 2020. And it’s lagging behind its own manifesto commitment to make the UK zero-carbon by 2050.

And to cap all this — the Prime Minister couldn’t even be bothered to show up to last week’s election debate to defend himself on these colossal failures.
Scott Ainslie, Green Party MEP for London

Editor's reply

Dear Scott
The impact of the way we live our lives on the environment is shaped over decades and centuries, so I don’t think it’s right to pin success or failure on any one government. But I agree that a lot more needs to be done, and that tough-sounding targets for the future are meaningless if we keep missing them when they arrive.

But let’s be optimistic for a moment: in this country all the main parties agree climate change is a massive threat.

All the main manifestos promise to tackle it and almost everyone will vote for a party which promises nation-changing action in response. That’s a lot better than in the US or Australia.

A lot of things divide the nation at the moment. The importance of climate change is one of the things which unites us.
Julian Glover, Associate Editor, Comment

Corbyn apology comes too late​

Congratulations to Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on ITV’s This Morning for managing to wrestle an apology from Jeremy Corbyn for anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

Obviously he’s very sorry and he says he is dealing with it. I suggest the Labour Party now deals with its leadership.
Kevin Cooper

Jeremy Corbyn’s apology for anti-Semitism in the Labour Party comes a bit too late. On December 12, Jewish voters will surely remember the party leader’s reluctance on this all-important matter.
Dominic Shelmerdine

Trump should keep quiet​

Donald Trump has a funny way of staying out of our general election . He has praised Boris Johnson, he has supported Brexit, and during his visit to London for the Nato summit he denied that the NHS was in the sights of the US in future trade negotiations. Laughably, he commented on his (non) role in our election by telling a press conference: “I don’t want to complicate it.”

Trump complicating anything? Trump staying out of our election? He’s having a laugh.
Beryl Wall

We have ultimate power over MPs

If the Conservatives won the election and then put the NHS on the table (or the prices the NHS pays for drugs or the services it provides) they would have no chance of winning the following election. So, they won’t put these things on the table. That’s how democracy works — politicians offer us their manifestos and we make our minds up on them, and then on how the politicians carry their policies out — or not — when they are in power. And if we don’t like what they do, we can chuck the rascals out. By contrast, how would you set about chucking out EU Commissioners?
Will Podmore

US needs respect

Given that the US provides the most funds to Nato, and much of its manpower and resources, it was not only rude but unwise of some of the world leaders to mock the US President at the recent summit. Without the US commitment to the alliance, it might not exist.
Paul Lebby