Environment 'must be at heart of recovery'

Politicians are backing wasteful policies which cost people money and harm the environment, conservationists said today as campaigning gathers pace ahead of the general election.

Politicians are backing wasteful policies which cost people money and harm the environment, conservationists said today as campaigning gathers pace ahead of the general election.

From biofuels in cars to bank bailouts and EU subsidies, the RSPB is highlighting a range of measures which it claims are squandering taxpayers' money on damaging schemes.

The conservation charity is calling on the next government not to sideline the environment as it draws up plans to reform spending, and is urging politicians to target public money on measures which protect nature and build a low carbon economy.

Such policies could deliver a range of benefits from flood protection and water quality to tackling climate change and giving the next generation the opportunity to access the countryside, a report by the RSPB said.

Martin Harper, head of sustainable development at the RSPB, said: "This report is a rallying cry for politicians in the run-up to an election and at a time when they are struggling to reform our economy.

"The environment should not and must not be sidelined in that struggle - it should be at the heart of a truly sustainable recovery.

"Our message is simple: cut wasteful spending that pollutes and damages the environment and invest in protecting nature and all the services it provides.

"Our children will have to pay for the billions we are spending to see us through the recession. The least we can do it use the money to build a future they'll thank us for."

Tens of thousands of people have already signed up to the charity's Letter to the Future petition, calling on politicians to consider the health of the planet for coming generations when deciding where to make cuts and invest, and the RSPB aims to have many more signatures by the time of the gene

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