Government 'not keeping green vows'

 

Just 2 per cent of people think the coalition is living up to Prime Minister David Cameron's promise to be the “greenest government ever”, a poll revealed today.

And ahead of a week which environmentalists fear will see an assault on countryside protections, the survey showed that only a tiny minority (4%) of people believe current rules safeguarding the environment are too strong.

The results of the "red tape challenge" review of environmental regulations, the controversial reforms to the planning system and an examination of how EU protections for nature are implemented are all expected in the next few days.

Green groups are concerned that Chancellor George Osborne will use Wednesday's Budget to attack environmental legislation, pushing a pro-growth agenda at the expense of the countryside and wildlife.

Greenpeace and the RSPB say the YouGov poll they commissioned shows people believe the Government is failing to live up to its green promises, and that ministers are out of step with the public who want to see nature protected.

The poll of more than 1,700 adults across the UK revealed that only 2% of those quizzed - and no Liberal Democrat voters - believed the coalition was the greenest ever, as Mr Cameron promised it would be shortly after taking office in 2010.

More people believed the Government was the least green ever (7%), while the majority (53%) thought it was about average.

The poll also found that while only 4% of people believed the current safeguards for wildlife and countryside were too strong, two-fifths (40%) thought they were too weak and slightly fewer than that (37%) thought they were about right.

Last year, Mr Osborne was accused of "anti-green" rhetoric in his Autumn Statement when he suggested environmental goals such as EU habitats regulations, which protect important wildlife, were putting "ridiculous costs on British businesses".

Campaigners have also been fighting the proposed changes to planning rules, which they fear will lead to damaging development in the countryside, and were alarmed by a review of all green rules, including key legislation on climate change and wildlife.

Following the survey, Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said: "This poll shows that, when it comes to the laws that protect Britain's precious wildlife and countryside, the Chancellor George Osborne is out of touch and pushing an agenda that is at odds with the views and values of the vast majority of people in this country."

Mike Clarke, chief executive of the RSPB, said: "Given his understandable need to create jobs and growth, the Chancellor has allowed himself to be led by anecdote from business and development interests rather than meaningful evidence on the needs of the British economy.

"There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest protection of the environment is a barrier to economic growth but plenty to suggest smart regulation is actually a stimulus to growth.

"Because of this lack of understanding, the Budget this week has the potential to be a Black Wednesday for the environment if the Government unveils an attack on environmental legislation and new planning guidance which fails our wildlife sites."

A statement released jointly by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Department of Energy and Climate Change said the Government was overhauling the electricity market, delivered a programme to protect the natural environment and is working on on EU Level for a global deal on climate change, among other efforts.

A spokesman for both departments said: "We are firmly committed to being the greenest government ever and want to be judged on actions."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all