LIBERAL Democrats in Gateshead have given the government one out of ten for their environmental record and have warned that local residents will suffer from more extreme weather if action is not taken to tackle pollution.
In a message from Liberal Democrats to residents in Gateshead to mark the first anniversary of the publication of the Stern Report – a major study into the dangers posed by pollution leading to global climate change – Councillor Jonathan Wallace said,
“Last year the Stern Report highlighted the huge dangers we face if action is not taken to cut the pollution we are causing.
“One of the biggest causes of global warming is carbon dioxide. Changing weather patterns have a huge impact on our local environment, leading to serious problems such as the severe storms and the record rainfall we have experienced in our area this year. Yet we are producing more and more carbon dioxide all the time.
“The response to the Stern report by the government was at first positive. But ministers have failed to carry through any big policies needed to tackle climate change and global warming. And in some areas they have gone into reverse.
“Since Gordon Brown became Prime Minister, the government have watered down plans to generate more energy from clean, green sources. One of his first acts as Prime Minister was to downgrade the importance of a top cabinet committee on the environment.
“Meanwhile Brown has seen a coalition of important green groups, which includes Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and the World Wide Fund for Nature, pull out of the government's nuclear consultation, claiming that the ministers were distorting the evidence and that they are considering taking the Government to court again on the issue.
“And a decade under Brown as Chancellor saw the overall tax burden on pollution fall whilst that on incomes rose, making it cheaper to pollute.
“This is a sorry record on the environment from Labour. The Stern Report, praised by Mr Brown last year when it was published, is now gathering dust. The call for action is not being taken seriously by the Prime Minister or the Labour government.
“The situation however could have been much different. Mr Brown could have led the call for change to save the environment. His failure to do so will mean that areas such as Gateshead are likely to suffer as the freak weather and damage seen this year becomes the norm in the future.”