In a week that has seen climate change dominate the news agenda and with high-profile politicians holding a meeting with environmental activist Greta Thunberg, new research by the People’s Vote campaign exposes the true anti-environmental agenda of leading Brexiters like Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg.
The Labour Shadow Environment Secretary, Sue Hayman, is also meeting with the Environment Secretary Michael Gove today to discuss possible environmental conditions being added to the Government’s thrice-rejected EU Withdrawal Bill, in an attempt to win support from Labour MPs.
But despite the warm words about a ‘Green Brexit’, the hidden agenda of the extreme Brexiters is to shred environmental protections, to scrap environmental restrictions on big business and in some cases to cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is impacted by human activity.
The current Environment Secretary, Michael Gove has previously called for the EU Habitats Directive to be scrapped, claiming it “massively increases the cost and the regulatory burden for housing development”.
Boris Johnson has referred in disparaging terms to environmental impact assessments and pushed for a post-Brexit UK to diverge from European environmental standards, saying “[W]e might decide that it was indeed absolutely necessary for every environmental impact assessment to monitor two life cycles of the snail and build special swimming pools for newts – not all of which they use – but it would at least be our decision.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg has said that India should be a model for UK emissions standards post-Brexit, claiming that “We could say, if it’s good enough in India, it’s good enough for here. There’s nothing to stop that.”
John Redwood has claimed that “Al Gore and The BBC climate change propaganda machine tell us the science of climate change is settled…Science is never settled.”
Former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has described the network of environmental campaign groups as “the Green Blob”, stating “I leave the post [of Environment Secretary] with great misgivings about the power and irresponsibility of – to coin a phrase – the Green Blob.”
And International Trade Secretary Liam Fox today granted legitimacy to those who are sceptical about the scientific consensus confirming that human activity has an impact on climate change, stating “Whether or not individuals accept the current scientific consensus on the causes of climate change, it is sensible for everyone to use finite resources in a responsible way.”
Caroline Lucas MP, leading supporter of People’s Vote, said:
“Brexit is a clear and present danger to the environment. For all the warm words from the likes of Michael Gove, the truth is the Brexiters in Parliament want to use Brexit as an opportunity to shred environmental protections and to allow big business a free pass on pollution. At a time when concern and action over climate change is growing, especially amongst the younger generation, this would be a huge betrayal.
“At a time when so many are being inspired to action on climate change by young people like Greta Thunberg, it’s vital that Labour doesn’t sign up to a backroom Brexit stitch-up that could sell our vital environmental protections down the river to a potential future Brexiter Prime Minister. That’s why a People’s Vote is the only solution, to allow the public to be given the final say on Brexit. It’s the only way to bring the clarity and closure we so desperately need so that we can start to move on as a country.”
Notes to editors:
Leading Brexiters have historically expressed a desire to get rid of regulations relating to environmental protection, and have even in some cases expressed scepticism about the scientific consensus that human activity is a cause of climate-change:
Michael Gove: “The Habitats Directive holds that if you build a home within five kilometres of a particular type of terrain, heathland, then you have to allocate, at the same time, something called suitable alternative natural green space to offset the environmental impact.” He derided the rationale for such rules and said that the directive “massively increases the cost and the regulatory burden for housing development”. (March 2017, link)
Jacob Rees-Mogg: “We could, if we wanted, accept emissions standards from India, America, and Europe. There’d be no contradiction with that. We could say, if it’s good enough in India, it’s good enough for here. There’s nothing to stop that.” (December 2016, link)
Boris Johnson wants the UK to diverge for EU environmental standards after Brexit: “We can simplify planning, and speed up public procurement, and perhaps we would then be faster in building the homes young people need; and we might decide that it was indeed absolutely necessary for every environmental impact assessment to monitor two life cycles of the snail and build special swimming pools for newts – not all of which they use – but it would at least be our decision. (February 2018 link)
David Davis: “There is no point imposing climate targets which send energy prices skywards unless the rest of the world follows suit. The result is predictable; manufacturers will leave these shores, taking jobs and investment with them. The emissions will not be eliminated, but simply relocated. That is why, for reasons both economic and environmental, we should not sacrifice Britain’s economic recovery on the altar of climate change.” (November 2011, link)
Owen Paterson: “I leave the post [of Environment Secretary] with great misgivings about the power and irresponsibility of – to coin a phrase – the Green Blob. By this I mean the mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape. The Green Blob sprouts especially vigorously in Brussels.” (July 2014, link).
John Redwood: “Al Gore and The BBC climate change propaganda machine tell us the science of climate change is settled – all sensible scientists believe in global warming, and think the major cause is human produced CO2. This reveals an ignorance of the way science works. Science is never settled.” (April 2008, link)
Liam Fox: “Whether or not individuals accept the current scientific consensus on the causes of climate change, it is sensible for everyone to use finite resources in a responsible way.” (April 2019, link)