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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Is Michael Gove an environmental disaster in waiting?

There have been a lot of quips on social media regarding Theresa May's decision to restore Michael Gove to the cabinet, not least that he should take the opportunity to prevent any more idiots running through wheat fields (that was Have I got news for you, not me).

The more serious comments however, have looked at the new Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary's record and questioned the wisdom of appointing him to that particular portfolio.

In the Independent, Green MP, Caroline Lucas sets out the objections in full:

It is hard to think of many politicians as ill-equipped for the role as Gove. This is a man who voted for the fracking nightmare; for putting a tax created to discourage fossil fuels on clean, renewable energy; and against putting our climate targets in line with our international responsibilities. A man who wants to see the fox-hunting ban lifted; who supports the scientifically-illiterate, never mind cruel and callous, badger cull; and who, despite apparently being a “shy Green”, tried to wipe climate change from the national curriculum.

More recently, Gove has been a cheerleader for ditching EU environmental laws designed to protect many of our most precious and wildest places. Much of the UK’s environment safeguards come from Brussels, and, with Brexit negotiations set to start imminently, Gove’s inclination to burn what he calls “EU red tape” is particularly concerning. He can’t be trusted to ensure vital safeguards are transferred into UK law during the Brexit process.

This appointment does not bode well for our future. As Caroline Lucas points out we have just emerged from a general election campaign that was almost environment-free. It received almost no mention in the leaders’ debates, and was glossed over in the manifestos.

It is time to take the environment seriously. Alas, the appointment of Michael Gove indicates that Theresa May's party are joining their new partners the DUP on the side of the climate change deniers.
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