Theresa May has launched a 25-year environment plan in a speech on Thursday, setting out her goals for preserving and improving the environment. The speech was the first environment speech from a British Prime Minister in 15 years.
Environmental groups have criticised the lengthy timescales for dealing with the problems in the Government’s new environment strategy, but from looking at Theresa May’s voting record, it’s clear that she doesn’t consider climate change and pollution to be a global emergency.
On 14th March 2016, Theresa May voted against setting a decarbonisation target for the UK. As a bid to stimulate investment in renewables and low-carbon energy by 2030, a decarbonisation target would have ensured electricity companies would have had to use more renewable energy to reduce carbon production.
Nobody can dispute the fact that renewable energy is increasingly the most cost effective and eco-friendly future to energy generation. We simply do not have enough finite natural resources to keep going forever, and the use of fossil fuels is damaging our environment.
Three years ago, she voted to allow onshore fracking and simultaneously rejected a review on how fracking exploits housing and damages our environment.
Since 2015 Labour have adopted an anti-fracking stance, an issue that the Green Party has been against since the issue first emerged, and it’s clear why; the public are completely against the destruction fracking causes. With every poll, support for fracking goes down while support for renewables soars, despite residents being offered cash incentives to allow shale gas extraction.
There are no positive cases for fracking. Infamous energy company Cuadrilla suspended fracking operations near in Lancashire, after two earthquakes hit the area. A review found it was "highly probable" that shale gas test drilling triggered the tremors. Furthermore, not only does fracking use huge amounts of water, but chemicals used in the process may escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site. Residents in some areas have experienced discoloured tap water near fracking sites.
Despite Theresa May voting to ensure privately owned forests would be accessible the public, her support for selling England’s state-owned forests would have opened the door for corporations and wealthy individuals to snatch up our shared heritage if it wasn’t for a handful of Conservative and Lib Dem rebels back in 2011.
The benefits of England’s publicly owned forests are substantially undervalued. Woodlands keep us healthy, they form a special aspect of English heritage and can be excellent environments for learning with schools. They fight against pollution and climate change, prevent floods, provide shade, entice wildlife and produce food. These important benefits help local communities thrive.
Claiming to strive towards “A cleaner greener Britain” only makes Theresa May more of a hypocrite as her voting record suggests she doesn’t care for protecting trees at all.
If her record on the environment wasn’t bad enough, then it’s her views on animal welfare that’ll push you over the edge.
Bovine tuberculosis is an infectious disease that results in the slaughter of tens of thousands of cattle each year. In 2013 she voted in favour of culling badgers to control bovine tuberculosis when a more effective (and humane) method would be tackling cattle to cattle transmission of bovine TB through improved biosecurity on farms. Science suggests that culling badgers does not have any significant impact on reducing the disease in cattle.
Despite the badger culling being extremely controversial in 2013, more recently the withdrawal of the fox hunting ban in her manifesto has caused a storm with 85% of the British public opposed to the plan. Thankfully, after intense criticism and opposition, the Conservatives U-turned on the pledge.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t even present for this for this one.
Meanwhile, Caroline Lucas (Green Party MP) has voted consistently in favour of them.