Blair climate change plan hit by failure to meet green targets

A A A

The Government is failing to meet more than a third of its targets for improving the environment. A campaign is to be announced today by Tony Blair and Margaret Beckett, the Secretary of State for the Environment, to urge everyone in Britain to join the fight to save the planet.

Releasing a five-year plan for her department, Mrs Beckett will announce a review of plans on global warming, which green groups fear will lead to targets being made easier to hit.

A progress report released on Monday showed that the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) had not met nine of the 22 performance targets that have been set for it since 1998. The department conceded some "slippage" had occurred on key objectives such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality.

Although the Government has met its Kyoto protocol goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 12.5 per cent below the 1990 level, the report admitted that there were doubts about whether it would hit its second goal of a 20 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2010.

The admission is embarrassing for Mr Blair, who has promised to lead a global effort to slow climate change when Britain takes over the presidency of the G8 group of leading industrial nations next month.

The pressure group Friends of the Earth said yesterday that emissions of carbon dioxide stood at only 7.5 per cent below the 1990 level, the same as when Labour came to power in 1997. It predicted that the target would be missed by a wide margin, with cuts of only 15 per cent achieved by the end of the decade.

Tony Juniper, the director of Friends of the Earth, warned that "time is running out" for the Prime Minister to prove he is serious about tackling the problem. "If the climate change programme fails to make significant cuts in UK greenhouse gas emissions, the Prime Minister's ability to persuade other countries to take the issue seriously will be totally undermined," he said.

Stephen Tindale, the executive director of Greenpeace, said that there was "a paralysis at the heart of government" on the issue. "C02 emissions have gone up since 1997," he said. "We are where we were when Labour came to power."

The report said that the Government was "broadly on course" to meet five of its seven air quality objectives, but it added: "On the basis of present policies and measures, it is questionable whether Defra will meet the objectives for nitrogen oxide and particles in all parts of the country, particularly in some urban areas, by the relevant deadlines."

A separate "quality of life" barometer showed progress on 10 out of 19 indicators but not on household waste recycling, road traffic, air quality and robbery. "There is still much more to be done," said the report.

Today's plan will emphasise the need to put "sustainable development into practice" and for everyone in Britain to "do their bit" to improve the environment and the quality of life for everyone.

It will include new measures to encourage people to recycle waste, plans to increase energy efficiency, and incentives to build affordable housing in rural areas. The Government will also publish a Bill that will make it easier to tackle problems such as litter and abandoned cars.

Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager / Section Manager - Airport Security

£40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a critical role within the secur...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45-55k

£20000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company is an established, ...

Recruitment Genius: E-Commerce Manager - Fashion Accessories

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Senior / Assistant Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Exciting new position available at an independ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn