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White Paper Levelling Up: Environment campaigners condemn Government plan that ignores net zero and climate goals

White Paper Levelling Up: Environment campaigners condemn Government plan that ignores net zero and climate goals

Green campaigners argue that climate and nature goals should be at the forefront if the UK is to be seriously elevated

Environmental campaigners have criticised the Government for failing focus on the need for net zero emissions in the levelling-up strategy.

They argue that green investing would not only help save money, but would also benefit the most economically poor communities in the country through jobs and protection from extreme weather.

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Despite this, the Government’s plan did not include any reduction in gas consumption or insulation of draughty houses.

NationalWorld interviewed campaigners in order to find out how they feel about the levelling up strategy.

Did the levelling up strategy also include any environment policies

The Levelling Up White Paper contains a section on the UK’s Transition from Net Zero, but it is not one of the 12 main missions the government has for 2030.

The paper published Wednesday 2 February mentions a transition to net zero as well as the green industrial revolution. It is the second-lowest on the list.

26 billion in capital investment were promised by the Government.

Green analysts argue that it is unclear where the cash came from and how it would go about its use.

Campaigners are also concerned about the funding for brownfield sites (areas that have been previously developed).

The Government has removed the 80/20 rule, which it claims leads to 80% funding for housing supply going to areas that are most affordable. This is in line with its mission to restore pride and local pride.

Instead, the vast majority of the 1.8bn brownfield funding will be used to transform these areas in the North or the Midlands.

Campaigners warn that building on brownfield sites can cause problems because they are important habitats for endangered species.

The plans did not include any green recovery, or a shift towards low-carbon footing to level up the country.

What do the environment campaigners think about the levelling up strategy

Campaigners are concerned about the lack of focus on net zero in Levelling Up White Paper.

Katie White, WWF Executive Director for Advocacy and Campaigns, said that we are facing a climate and a nature catastrophe and that to improve the well-being, wealth, and health of all, we should be pulling all the levers to accelerate the transition toward net zero.

This must be at the heart UK Government policies but it has been left out of the White Paper.

Mike Childs is the head of policy at Friends of the Earth. He said that the Government’s lack of vision, foresight, and vision is very troubling.

Any plan to level the country must reflect the unavoidable realities faced, which means climate is at the heart of any government strategy.

Josh Bloodworth, a climate activist from Liverpool, stated: Much like the Government’s climate record, their levelling-up plans can be described simply with the phrase blah, blah, blah.

Their rhetoric is not accurate in diagnosing the problem, their ambitions for solutions and the reality of the policies that they are implementing.

They level off at each interval.

Bloodworth also criticizes government for not focusing on environmental issues that can be levelled up.

He said: While the missions are about improving life expectancy, health, and pride in place, they don’t get connected to the benefits of green spaces, warm homes, and reducing pollution.

By properly electrifying and insulating homes, we can simultaneously reduce energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions and create well-paid green jobs.

What has been the reaction to the renewable energy sector?

Chief Executive of Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), Dr Nina Skorupska, CBE, said that she was disappointed that the strategy did not emphasize net zero.

She said that although I feel it is a missed opportunity; however, I hope that the Net Zero Test will still be applied to the measures, which will aid in the delivery of regional, low-carbon economies that are fit for the future.

Dr Skorupska stated that the renewable energy sector could be a catalyst for the Governments to level up plans. The current energy crisis has made it more urgent than ever for the transition.

She said that in an era of increasing living costs, mainly due to volatile fossil fuel prices, the need for energy transition acceleration has never been greater.

She said: It is clear that the best method to protect households against rising energy bills is to increase the installation of domestic renewable technology systems, insulate as quickly as possible, as well as deliver new housing stock that is fit for a net-zero future.

I hope that the Government will look to reassess the position of the country, place net zero at center of its levelling up agenda, build a more fair, sustainable, and more prosperous economy.

How can climate goals create opportunities throughout the country?

Katie White, WWF, emphasizes the importance of climate goals and nature goals in helping the UK to rise.

Ms White stated that if the government is serious about fulfilling its promise to create meaningful opportunities in the UK for all citizens, climate and nature goals must be at the forefront of public and private investment to level the UK.

Investing in the green transformation will not only save money in the long-term, but will also provide direct benefits to communities across the UK. These include well-paid green jobs in previously untapped communities, as well as improved public transport and homes that are warmer.

Mike Childs is the head of policy at Friends of the Earth. He stated that the failure to include net zero in the levelling up agenda shows how this Government doesn’t fully understand the impact climate breakdown will have on people living in the most economically disadvantage areas of the UK.

Flooding, storms, heatwaves and other natural disasters all affect the most vulnerable because they are not options for many.

He said: There are also hundreds and thousands of green jobs in areas like renewable energy and nature restoration, and improving home energy efficiency. But ministers have not capitalized on this huge opportunity to bring prosperity to the places that are most needed.

Joe Tetlow is a senior political advisor at Green Alliance. He stated: We need to see ten years of action from the government in order to rebalance our economy and fulfill the UK’s environmental commitments.

However, there is still much to be done in order to fully exploit the enormous job opportunities available across the country in the restoration of our natural environment and the construction of a circular economy.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities was contacted for comment.

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