Green policy ‘back-tracking’ unites groups

The new NIFCA Fisheries Protection vessel, St Aidan, will be important in helping to monitor and protect the marine environment.

The name, St Aidan, seems entirely appropriate given his reverence for the natural world. St Aidan is often depicted alongside a stag’s head, legend having it that he saved a stag from a pack of hounds by making it invisible. No doubt then where his sympathies would lie over the government’s attempt to weaken the law on fox hunting.

Nor, I imagine, would St Aidan have much time for the government’s approach to the environment in general. Its abandonment of ten key green policies has united diverse groups, including Friends of the Earth, CPRE, WWF, RSPB and the National Trust.

Critics point to issues such as ending the Green Deal for households, re-introducing pesticides harmful to bees, reducing support for renewable energy and watering down controls on fracking as evidence that climate change sceptics are winning the argument.

Business organisations such as the CBI say the government is putting at risk the UK’s energy policy framework, undermining future investment.

Why does this matter? It matters because in December there will be crucial international climate change talks to try to thrash out a meaningful deal. Instead of leading, Britain looks like back-tracking.