Letter to Number 10 warns that without Clean Growth Plan, Green Brexit and stronger international diplomacy, May risks jeopardising UK’s competitiveness
Leading investors and Blue Chip businesses have today warned Prime Minister Theresa May she risks undermining the UK’s position as a global leader on climate change without urgent action to clarify the government’s decarbonisation policies.
In a letter sent to Number 10 today by green groups representing thousands of companies and high-profile investors, May is warned that a lack of clear climate policies “may give away hard-won UK leadership” in key green industries.
It calls on the Prime Minister to detail how the UK will deliver on its targets under the Climate Change Act, via the Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth Plan, work with the EU during the Brexit process to drive EU-wide climate action, and press climate issues at international gatherings such as the G20.
The move follows criticism that May was not vocal enough in her condemnation of President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Agreement and has failed to provide sufficient environmental protections in the government’s draft Repeal Bill.
“The government may have a lot on their plate with Brexit negotiations, but answers around how the UK’s economy will evolve and modernise through the next decade are long overdue,” Jill Duggan, director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group which co-ordinated the letter, said in a statement. “Now is the time to display the vision, innovation and leadership needed to help UK industry transition to a low carbon economy.”
The letter was signed by the heads of IEMA, RenewableUK, Tech UK, the UK Green Building Council, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, and the Environmental Industries Commission.
“We look forward to working with you on this agenda,” the group wrote. “This current moment of change presents a unique opportunity for the UK to embed new principles and innovative thinking in the way it approaches such issues, and to display the vision, leadership and clarity required in order to attract sufficient investment into the UK to build a low carbon economy.”
The government has promised to publish its Clean Growth Plan after Parliament returns from recess in early September, with Ministers signalling they want to deliver an ambitious new decarbonisation plan.
In addition, Environment Secretary Michael Gove is today expected to make a speech promising the UK will become a global leader in environmental policy post-Brexit.
“Leaving the EU gives us a once in a lifetime opportunity to reform how we manage agriculture and fisheries, how we care for our land, our rivers and our seas, how we recast our ambition for our country’s environment, and the planet,” he is expected to say, “In short, it means delivering a Green Brexit.”
However, green groups remain fearful that brexit could trigger a watering down of some key environmental policies, while some businesses remain concerned that the regulatory, policy, and trade disruption that could result from leaving the EU may undermine investment in emerging clean technologies.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy were considering a response at the time of publish.