A plan? What we need is action

March 01 2021

I WOULD like to respond to the piece by James Heappey MP which appeared in the middle of an article from a Wells resident who was concerned about the Climate and Ecological Emergency not being taken seriously enough, particularly by politicians.

Mr Heappey says the government have a plan, which they may, but we need more than that now – we need action. In the report dated June 2020 from the government’s own Committee on Climate Change they state that of 31 targets set, only two have been achieved. Do you want to know what those two targets achieved were? I looked them up:

Under Transport: Publish the results of the evaluation of Climate Change Agreement to inform any successor scheme for 2023.

Under Waste: In Wales publish a new waste strategy including proposals to reduce food waste substantially and regulations requiring that all businesses and public bodies separate recycling waste at source.

Yes, they published two reports. This falls well short of the sort of action we need if we are going to prevent climate and ecological catastrophe. The government are clearly not doing everything they can.

The government are pursuing a ‘business as usual model’ which is going to have devastating results for all of us. Some examples are:

1. Giving permission for a new coal mine to provide coking for the steel industry to go ahead in Cumbria. This has been roundly condemned by many including John Hansen, one of the most respected figures in global climate science, who said it shows “contemptuous disregard for the future of young people”.

2. Continuing to finance fossil fuel projects in Africa, using British taxpayer money.

3. Allowing the use of bee-killing neonicitinoids by farmers for use on sugar beet: insects are in decline, vital for pollinating our food and form part of the natural chain that we humans rely on and are part of too.

4. Allowing new buildings to be built without any zero carbon standards to be employed – no solar panels, no air source heat pumps, no robust insulation, no water management elements, no strict code for the sourcing of sustainable materials, no health and wellbeing considerations. 

5. Allowing the peat extraction industry to continue – contentious in Somerset but digging out peat releases tonnes of CO2.

6. Continuing with the ecologically damaging and eye-wateringly expensive HS2 project which will benefit only a few people, but is smashing through woodlands and causing the felling of valuable mature trees.

No point in having a plan if no action, or the wrong sort of action, results.

Laura Sørensen