Cut the green crap! Cameron reveals his private view of energy taxation and orders ministers to dump the eco-charges adding £110-a-year to bills
David Cameron has ordered ministers to ditch the ‘green crap’ blamed for driving up energy bills and making business uncompetitive, it is claimed.
The Prime Minister, who once pledged to lead the ‘greenest government ever’, has publicly promised to ‘roll back’ green taxes, which add more than £110 a year to average fuel bills.
But a senior Tory source said Mr Cameron’s message in private is far blunter.
The source said: ‘He’s telling everyone, “We’ve got to get rid of all this green crap.” He’s absolutely focused on it.’
Tory high command has also privately abandoned Mr Cameron’s pre-election mantra ‘vote blue, go green’. ‘It’s vote blue, get real, now – and woe betide anyone who doesn’t get the memo,’ the source said.
The Prime Minister’s comments relate to his bid to cut fuel bills by removing green taxes, the source said. But they will horrify environmental campaigners.
But a senior Downing Street source said: ‘We do not recognise this phrase that they are using on their front page,’ although they did not deny the Prime Minister said it.
Nick Clegg added today: ‘The Prime Minister and I were discussing this just yesterday, I don’t think it’s a fair reflection of his views.
‘Across this coalition, we’re not going to turn our back on the environment.’
In opposition, Mr Cameron made great play of his green credentials as he tried to detoxify the Conservative Party’s image.
In 2006 he travelled in the Arctic Circle with a pack of huskies to highlight his concern about climate change.
He was repeatedly pictured cycling to the Commons – though this backfired when it emerged his shoes and papers followed in a car. And he even applied to put a wind turbine on the roof of his family home.
But although he still pays lip service to the need to tackle climate change, his enthusiasm for green issues waned as the Government battled the economic crisis.
In September, Chancellor George Osborne said Britain should not be ‘in front of the rest of the world’ on tackling climate change.
And the Government has driven through radical planning reforms to boost the economy, which critics claim could lead to the concreting over of large parts of the Green Belt.
The revelations come as the Prime Minister is locked in a dispute with the Lib Dems about his plan to cut the costly green levies on energy bills.
Mr Cameron wants to scrap most of the charges, which help subsidise wind farms and pay for home insulation. But Nick Clegg is insisting they must stay.
The Prime Minister is understood to be pushing for a delay in the rollout of the Energy Company Obligation scheme, which adds about £60 a year to average bills.
The £1.3billion scheme, which pays for insulating the homes of the poor, has been criticised for waste and bureaucracy.
It is due to be rolled out across the country by 2015 but could now be delayed until 2017. The Tories also want to see cuts to subsidies for wind turbines and solar panels.
The Government’s green record came under attack from 41 environmental groups this week.
The umbrella group Wildlife and Countryside Link said the Government was failing to deliver a third of its commitments to protect the natural environment.
Dr Elaine King, the group’s director, said: ‘David Cameron promised the greenest government ever. Using the Government’s own promises as a yardstick, these findings show he’s failed to stick to his plan.’
Downing Street told PA that this did not mean the PM had abandoned his commitment to the environment.
‘He has been quite clear about rolling back the impact of levies on energy bills, but only last week in Sri Lanka he was talking about the importance of tackling climate change,’ said the Number 10 source.
Mr Cameron made clear during that Sri Lanka visit that he believed the evidence of global warming was ‘growing’ and thought it was right to take ‘preventative and mitigating steps’ in response.
Responding to speculation that man-made climate change may be to blame for the devastating typhoon in the Philippines, the PM said then: ‘I’ll leave the scientists to speak for themselves about the link between severe weather events and climate change.
But the evidence seems to me to be growing. As a practical politician, I think the sensible thing is to say let’s take preventative and mitigating steps given the chances this might be the case.’
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding