Derek Thomas MP supports new environmental manifesto to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss

Derek Thomas MP has today supported the launch of a new environmental manifesto that explores new policy ideas to address climate change and biodiversity loss.Mr Thomas is a member of the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) MP's caucus, and has signed the manifesto's declaration. The Declaration acknowledges the 'gravity of the global environmental crisis and our duty to preserve and restore our planet for future generations'. 

Mr Thomas said, "Climate change is the most important issue of our time, my constituents have asked me to do more, and this is the first step in that. This document outlines new policy ideas that can help us to decarbonise while protecting our precious landscapes and wildlife. 

Conservatives have a long history of environmental stewardship, as outlined in the manifesto, but we know that we must do more to meet the new challenges we face today. Now we have set a world-leading net zero target, we must set the policies to meet that target, and to also address the serious declines we are seeing in many of our precious species. We should also be utilising the UK's international standing, as a world leader in decarbonisation, to support other countries towards clean growth."

CEN Director Sam Richards said, “the manifesto aims to present a set of ideas that, if adopted, offer the next Conservative Prime Minister an exciting opportunity to set the UK on a new path that could unite a divided country and secure the prosperity of future generations. We have a record to be proud of, as one of the leading countries in the world in tackling climate change. But we know there is more to do, and the manifesto aims to present a space to discuss these potential future pathways in greater detail.”

Major policy ideas considered in the Manifesto include:

  • Subsidy-free onshore wind and increased ambition on offshore wind - the cheapest source of power allowed to compete in CfD auctions, putting us on track to 75GW by 2050.
  • Planning reform - a Royal Commission to deliver the sustainable homes we need.
  • Investment in regional transport networks - to unleash productivity outside London.
  • Road pricing - a data-smart replacement for fuel duty when we shift to electric vehicles.
  • A world leading Environment Act - legally-binding targets and a new, locally-led nature recovery network to restore the British countryside.
  • Sustainable land and fisheries management - replace CAP with a system that brings public and private money into a single market-based scheme for natural capital restoration, and CFP with new, properly enforced maximum sustainable yields.
  • Fracking ban - prevent stranded assets in an unpopular, uneconomic and out-of-date industry.
  • Commonwealth Alliance for Nature - using friendships to achieve unique partnerships.

Jeremy Hunt gave a speech: 

'Welcome to everyone from the Conservative Environment Network, who do such a terrific job putting the environment and climate change at the heart of or mission as a Conservative party. 

This task has never been more relevant, as our older supporters become increasingly concerned about the planet we leave to their children and grandchildren, and as we have become increasingly disconnected with young people who are questioning our motives. We must confront this issue with greater vigour if we are going to show the next generation that we are on their side, and that we can be trusted with their futures. 

I had worked hard to put climate change at the heart of the UK’s foreign policy, most recently negotiating with the Italian Government to work together on the COP26 Climate Summit. 

And I am incredibly proud to be part of the Government that has legislated to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

This is an ambitious target, but it is crucial that we achieve it to ensure we protect our planet for future generations.

That is why I made climate change and the environment a key part of my youth manifesto. 

I will introduce a Clean Air Act to give every English city that wants it, the powers and funding to become pollution free within a decade. I will also fund the roll out of a national network of 2.5 million electric charging points. 

Finally, I want the UK to the fastest growing, most dynamic, greenest economy in Europe.

We can go further, including in the ways I have outlined, but this demands that we confront tough choices and that we do so as a more united and ambitious Conservative party.'