Voters in Tory heartlands want the government to do more to tackle the climate crisis, and support measures that many backbench Conservative MPs have balked at, from ditching gas boilers to taxing flights, new polling shows. The government has delayed or dialled back key measures in recent weeks. There is no sign of the long-awaited heat and building strategy, the net zero strategy has been postponed to later this month, while the environment bill is stuck in parliament as ministers rejected strengthening amendments from the Lords. Several backbench Tory MPs who have grumbled about the government’s green measures, such as replacing gas boilers with heat pumps, or blamed rising energy prices on the push for renewable power, are expected to air their grievances at the party conference. But a poll of 41 constituencies in the “blue wall” – long-term Tory-held seats, tilted towards the south but with some in the north of England – has found that a majority of voters there believe the UK should be a world leader on climate, and that the costs of inaction outweigh the costs of action. Six in 10 support the phasing out of gas boilers, while more than half (54%) want a tax on frequent flyers and a similar number (54%) support the phasing out of petrol and diesel vehicles. Rebecca Newsom, head of politics at Greenpeace UK, which commissioned the poll, said: “This polling shows that there is an electoral risk here for the government, in not following through on their promises on climate change. It is a clear mandate from voters in some of the most important Conservative constituencies for the government to go full throttle on climate action.”
Guardian 3rd Oct 2021 read more »
Ben Houchen metro mayor of Tees Valley: For some, the goal of eliminating the UK’s contribution to climate change is an urgent challenge we face on par with combatting the pandemic. For others, it is political folly and a cost too great. Let me say this to those in the Conservative Party and beyond who are still sceptical — net zero is not a fad; it is a unique opportunity to bring industry back to the Red Wall. Not only will this agenda give people in Teesside new jobs and skills that will raise living standards, it is also how Britain can lead the world again. While the approach espoused by the crypto-Marxists at Extinction Rebellion will lead to nothing other than radical state intervention into people’s lives, population control and the punishment of business, this government is engaged in a deeply Conservative mission: for Britain to lead the global green industrial revolution. These are not just lofty policy ambitions, created in the corridors of Whitehall never to materialise. In Teesside, Darlington, and Hartlepool, we are already reaping the vast economic benefits of the UK’s path to net zero — as are other regions, too. The former Redcar steelworks, which once was the symbol of my region’s economic might, is being transformed into a powerhouse of green industry. This vast piece of land will soon be home to Net Zero Teesside, the world’s first industrial scale carbon capture utilisation and storage facility.
Times 4th Oct 2021 read more »