Conservative leadership candidates hoping to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister should not ditch or backslide on the Government’s green agenda, according to Metro Mayor Dan Norris.
The intervention from the Metro Mayor comes amid mounting fears the winning candidate will dismantle the UK’s net-zero commitments.
Leadership hopefuls Kemi Badenoch and Suella Braverman have both vowed to axe the UK’s net-zero by 2050 target while others like Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have offered only tepid support for the goal.
Parliamentarians are warning “siren voices” from net-zero sceptics on the Tory backbenches are pressuring contenders to move away from policies aimed at tackling the climate crisis.
Mayor Norris said government support for net zero and nature protection was vital in helping the West of England Combined Authority, led by the Metro Mayor, reach its own net zero by 2030 target, including giving local businesses the confidence to invest in green solutions.
Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “UK temperatures could reach 40C for the first time this week – we are in the midst of a deadly climate emergency. So why are Tory leadership candidates queuing up to ditch net zero? Aware of the great strength of public opinion here in the West of England, we have rightly set our own even more ambitious target to achieve net zero by 2030, and important work is already underway. But we cannot do this alone – the West of England desperately needs a government that will work hand in glove with us in the fight against the climate and ecological crises, and that government must be led by a prime minister that has net zero front and centre of his or her agenda. It would be a very bad idea for the Tory leadership hopefuls to let the sun blind their eyes to the climate science, and for these worthy and vital goals to be abandoned altogether”.
Senior conservatives, including Tory minister Zac Goldsmith, have reportedly said they will support a Labour government rather than a new prime minister who abandons net zero.