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Friday, July 28, 2017

Tory inconsistency on the environment threatens our future

The discussion that took place in Swansea Council's debating chamber last night on the non-electrification of the main line between Swansea and Cardiff highlighted perfectly the many contradictions in the UK Tory Government's environmental policies.

The UK Government want to ban diesel and petrol cars and yet they are reluctant to approve projects that will produce non-carbon electricity to charge the replacement electric vehicles. We are still waiting for the go-ahead for the Swansea tidal lagoon.

They deny Swansea and all points west of Cardiff, the long-promised electrification of our railway line and offer polluting diesel trains on that route instead. So diesel cars are out but not diesel trains.

The Welsh Government are equally culpable of course. They are planning a £1 billion M4 by-pass around Newport that will compromise five SSSIs. That money would be better spent on electrifying the mainline past Cardiff plus all the various branch lines.

The inconsistency does not stop there. As the Independent reports, at the same time as UK Ministers are extolling the virtues of electric vehicles, key policies to cut the estimated 40,000 premature deaths from toxic air every year are being dumped.

A plan for a Government-led “scrappage scheme” – to get diesel cars off Britain’s roads quickly – has been rejected as poor value for money. Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, also shelved proposals to charge drivers to enter the most-polluted towns and cities, shifting the responsibility on to local councils and imposing tests.

We need to more much faster on measures to tackle air pollution and with considerably more consistency. A commitment from governments of all political hue to do what is necessary to meet targets would be a start.
The LIBEMS started the ball rolling for the 2040 aim in our green manifesto of 2014.Then the rug was pulled from under us in 2015. The result being 3 years of planning lost and a reliance on overseas companies taking over. I do not think the Tories know how to push the country forward into this Century.
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