North East Herts MP Oliver Heald joined colleagues from the Conservative Environment Network Parliamentary Caucus to write to the Prime Minister in support of a green economic recovery from Covid-19. The letter was sent ahead of a statement, which is planned for early next month, by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak when he will announce a recovery package to kickstart the UK economy after several months in lockdown and address rapid declines in employment.
The letter urged the Government to back the green British industries of the future and low-carbon infrastructure projects, such as electric vehicle manufacturing, renewable energy projects, and home energy efficiency retrofits, to bring jobs to all corners of the country whilst also putting the UK on track to meeting its world-leading net zero emissions target.
The letter also echoed the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s comments at the recent international Petersberg Climate Dialogue: “it will be the duty of every responsible government to see that our economies are revived and rebuilt in a way that will stand the test of time”. It also outlined the importance of entrenching recent improvements to the environment, such as cleaner air and more abundant wildlife, which many people have enjoyed during lockdown whilst visiting their local green spaces during their daily exercise outings.
Commenting, Oliver Heald said, “The UK has had the fastest per capita falls in greenhouse gas emissions and the fastest per capita economic growth rate in the G7 since 1990, so we know that we do not have to choose between a strong economy and a healthy environment. The evidence from the last economic crisis shows that green investments returned the most economic benefits. As we rebuild from this crisis, we should build back better, in a way that boosts our economy whilst delivering our commitment to leave our environment in a better state for future generations. That’s why I’ve written to the Prime Minister in support of a green recovery.
The Government should build on its recent unprecedented investment into cycling and walking infrastructure. During lockdown, many people have rediscovered cycling and walking as part of their daily exercise. To maintain the cleaner air we’ve all been breathing, we need walking and cycling to be a natural first choice for suitable journeys. New infrastructure and better cycling education will make these options easier and safer.
The Government should accelerate the growth of the electric vehicle market, with new incentives for people to junk their petrol or diesel cars and switch to electric. We must also ensure we have a comprehensive network of charge points, as we committed to delivering in our manifesto last year. Finally, the Government should work with private-sector partners to build a battery manufacturing plant here in Britain, to make our supply chains more resilient and help level up by creating employment opportunities across the country.”