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UK Government Conservative Party Pledge to be “Greenest Government Ever” Rings Hollow

The folowing piece is taken from the Independent Newspaper UK (Wednesday 26 October) and lists 9 areas in which the conservative dominated coalition government is rolling back on environmental progress much of which was made over the last decade in the UK, and one which has been withdrawn:

1. Rural Planning Reforms
Proposed new planning rules would abolish the presumption (in place since 1947) that the ordinary countryside has value and will be protected. The default answer to development proposals will be “Yes”.
2. Green Investment Bank
The Green Investment Bank, set up to fund major renewable energy projects, will not be allowed to borrow until 2015, greatly limiting its powers. Critics say it has been neutered.
3. Gagging of Agencies
Natural England (the wildlife watchdog), the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission have all been told they are forbidden from policymaking, or commenting on policy.
4. Abolition of advisory panels
The Sustainable Development Commission and the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution have simply been scrapped.
5. Illegal Tropical Timber
The Tory manifesto promised that the possession of illegally imported tropical timber would be a criminal offence. This promise has now been abandoned.
6. Eco-homes
The definition of “zero carbon” for new eco-homes has been watered down substantially by not counting carbon emissions arising from plug-in appliances (from cookers to TV sets) – up to half the household total.
7. Aggregates Fund
The aggregates levy sustainability fund, which raised millions of pounds from sand and gravel and recycled it to nearly 200 green projects, has been wound up.
8. Oil Spill Tugboats
Funding is being withdrawn for four ocean-going tugs, such as the Anglian Monarch, capable of towing oil tankers in distress.
9. 80mph Speed Limit
Raising the speed limit to 80mph will add more than 2 million tonnes a year to Britain's CO2 emissions, according to the Government's Climate Change Committee.
10. Forests sell-off
The Government decided to sell off the public forest estate, although there had been no mention of the idea in either the Conservative manifesto or the Coalition document. Public outrage stopped them.

What hope is there that one any more of these points they will be turned around by public opinion or the Liberals?

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