Govt plan for Green Industrial Revolution doesn't live up to the hype

The government has unveiled its latest plan to fight the climate emergency - a goal that we all share across party lines for the sake of our environment and safeguarding the future we owe to the next generation.

Of the £12bn of 'new' investment promised for this vital task, just £4bn of it is actually new investment. The rest is funding that has already been announced previously.

A £12bn investment also pales in comparison to what other countries are investing in tackling the climate emergency - with Germany planning to invest €42bn and France €35bn. What the government is promising just doesn't live up to the hype.

With limited plans to extend the Green Homes Grant, and little in the way of funding for improving biodiversity and protecting the peatlands, boglands and woodlands that are vital to our ecosystem and any work needed to tackle the emergency in the UK, this plan will not deliver the change we need here in Cheltenham to protect the environment and improve lives. 

Hopes for greater investment in active travel in Gloucestershire have also been dashed by mismanagement of previous funding by the Conservatives in Shire Hall.

The Government recently released the final tranche of Active Travel Funding – a pot of money to spend on walking and cycling infrastructure to encourage people out of their cars. Despite requesting £10milion, Gloucestershire has received just £864,750.

When discussing the allocations earlier in the year, the Government confirmed the money would be awarded to those councils who had best-reallocated road space to people walking and cycling during the first phase of funding.

To receive so little for the final round shows their own Government doesn’t trust Gloucestershire Conservatives to spend the active travel funding well. This failure has cost all residents dearly, resulting in a £9 million black hole for walking and cycling schemes. 

Responding to the Government's "Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution", Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Cheltenham, Max Wilkinson, said:

"We need to go much further, much faster, in our efforts to tackle the climate emergency.

"As the local council cabinet member responsible for driving forward projects on this, I want to see much more done to make local buildings more energy-efficient, enable local sustainable energy production, support green transport and so much more.

"We also need so much more help for businesses who want to make positive changes too and in Cheltenham we are working hard on making our economic recovery green and sustainable.

"At the moment, the progress is just too slow and those of us trying to make things happen on the ground need much more support."

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

"This plan fails to undo the damage the Conservatives have done to the UK's progress on climate change over the past five years. It pledges to continue selling fossil fuel-powered hybrid cars past 2030 and promises to extend the Green Homes Grant by just one year.

"We need a long term plan, backed by meaningful funding, to tackle the climate emergency and kickstart a green recovery from Covid-19, alongside a new Department of Climate Change to coordinate this plan and a significant devolution of powers across the UK, not more piecemeal pledges. 
"Liberal Democrats are calling for £150 billion in funding for a Green Economic Recovery, with investment across every sector of the UK economy to fuel sustainable growth."

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