Conservatives will protect the environment as part of our economic plan


Writing exclusively for BusinessGreen, Amber Rudd says the Tories will continue to back the Climate Change Act as part of its long term economic plan

We are proud to have been the greenest government ever. Under David Cameron, renewable electricity capacity has tripled. We have put in place a new framework to decarbonise Britain's energy market and we have delivered our manifesto commitment to create the world's first ever Green Investment Bank (GIB).

One million homes have benefitted from energy efficiency measures since 2010 - that's a million households that will now be permanently warmer for less. Half a million homes have installed solar PV and we have backed the first new nuclear plant in 20 years, placed a minimum price on carbon, put aside £1bn for carbon capture and storage and, through the £3.9bn we are contributing to the International Climate Fund, we are helping developing nations around the world tackle climate change.

Looking forward to the next Parliament, our Conservative Manifesto is clear: ‘we will continue to support the UK Climate Change Act and cut emissions as cost-effectively as possible.' We'll do this through insulating a million more homes, supporting new nuclear power, offshore wind, marine energy and other renewables alongside natural gas and by continuing to drive smart-meter roll-out in every home.

Protecting our oceans is also at the heart of our Manifesto. We have announced a Blue Belt of protected marine sites off the UK's coasts, building on the existing network of Marine Conservation Zones, with an overseas Blue Belt around the UK's 14 Overseas Territories.

And, as the local Conservative Candidate for Hastings & Rye, something that I am particularly proud of is our commitment to defending our hard-won Common Fisheries Policy - and ending the scandalous practice of discarding perfectly edible fish. I have seen first-hand the devastating impact that misguided EU policies can have on the livelihoods of our local fishermen and the Conservatives' pledge to reform the quota system will be another big step in the right direction.

So we will continue to take action to protect the environment as part of our long-term economic plan for green jobs and growth. However, we will do it in a way that represents the lowest possible cost to consumers - through bearing down on the costs of green energy, driving greater innovation and working with business to deliver solutions.

Yet to those who still say that the Conservatives do not take tackling climate change seriously, let me remind them that it was Margaret Thatcher who was the first ever world leader to sound the alarm on taking action on global warming at the UN in 1989. And a year before that, at the Conservative Party Conference, the then Prime Minister made clear our commitment to the green agenda when she said: ‘The core of Tory philosophy and for the case for protecting the environment are the same. No generation has a freehold on this earth. All we have is a life tenancy-with a full repairing lease'. Her words are as true today as they were then.

Amber Rudd is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Climate Change and Conservative candidate for Hastings and Rye.

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