Readers' letters - September 12

Bad news for climate issue

Monday, 12th September 2016, 4:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th September 2016, 9:59 am
Prime Minister Theresa May has abolished the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

When forming her new government, Theresa May decided to effectively abolish Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

This is major setback to British efforts to combat climate change. Its functions were transferred to a larger business department, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (DBEIS), led by Greg Clark.

In a statement, he appeared to allay concerns that climate change would be downgraded in his new role. Also he shadowed Ed Miliband, who was the first Secretary of State for DECC in the Blair Government, so he may have gained reasonable knowledge of environmental matters, but I doubt the same commitment. Climate is not even mentioned in the DBEIS title.

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By downgrading the Whitehall status of climate change, Prime Minister Theresa May has hit low carbon investor confidence yet again. The number of voices in the Cabinet with departmental remit for climate change has been halved, with only DEFRA charged with environmental objectives. Of course it is DEFRA that has just sanctioned the extension of the controversial badger cull, hardly the action of a progressive government!

However, the Government is still bound by the Climate Change Act (2008), committing successive governments to cuts in greenhouse gas emissions through to 2050.

Nevertheless the abolition of DECC is a serious downgrading of British capability in the area of the environment, which sadly fits into a shift to the right in government where Euroscepticism often goes hand in hand with climate change scepticism. Several international statesmen and women have issued a statement saying they regretted the decision. Various environmental groups strongly criticised the decision as downgrading action on climate only months after more than 170 countries signed the Paris climate deal in New York. The UK is under pressure to ratify the agreement, as part of the EU and domestically.

It seems to me that, regrettably, the new Prime Minister has already downgraded action to tackle climate change, which is one of the biggest threats that we face in the modern world. I also feel it is another concession to the ‘Brexiteers’ in the Conservative Party and a blow to outward- looking Britain. The abolition of DECC means climate change and the environment will slip down the government agenda, as there is no department on these issues that can formulate clear policy.

Susan Fox, Longton

We can’t rush leaving the EU

It is evident that a surprising number of people clearly believe that leaving the EU is akin to leaving a sports club. Hence, the demands to get a move on.

The sheer complexity of leaving, plus the negotiations necessary to cement new trade agreements, is clearly not appreciated. On average, a single major trade deal prior to us joining the EU has, since 1945, taken up to three years. The legal requirements alone are complicated.

When David Cameron held the referendum, he believed the result would be to remain in the EU. Thus, there were no detailed plans to deal with the consequences of a vote to leave.

Theresa May and her colleagues are having to start from scratch. They have a blank slate on which to formulate a sound solution to the single most complicated economic and social issue facing this country since 1945.

Another myth is that leaving the EU will end the migrant crisis. It won’t. We cannot access the single market unless we agree the free movement of people. We cannot have a bespoke arrangement. We cannot pull up the drawbridge, and it would be economic madness not to access the single market. It is no use crying out for immediate action. We need to await a solution that has been carefully thought through and is in the best interest of our country. It will take years.

Dr Barry Clayton, address supplied

Where is the common sense?

The decision to close libraries across Lancashire has shown in sharp relief the lack of any thought outside the socialist bubble in which the county council’s ruling group is a prisoner.

The lack of strategic or sound thinking is shown up clearly in the latest statement that: “The decision on which libraries would close was based on two criteria, access and the deprivation of local communities.”

Surely anyone with a modicum of common sense would, if libraries had to close, close first those which were least used and less valued by the community they served.

As with all decisions emanating from county, there is a hidden agenda. Those areas with the highest deprivation are most likely to vote to keep the ruling group in power. This is not a good way to provide sustainable services, as we have seen, time and time again. The cry “Government cuts” is a fig leaf to cover the county council’s utter incompetence, which will not change until an electoral laxative is applied next year.

Gordon McCann via email

Looking for wise politics

Thank goodness there is no general election coming up. I cannot vote for ‘sneering bullies’, more intent on ridiculing Jeremy Corbyn than addressing serious issues, nor can I vote for a party obsessed with fighting among themselves.

All I want is a wise party, with the right combination of common sense and compassion. My dream party would care for all people, animals (domestic and wildlife) and the environment.

It wouldn’t waste money on such things like a 10 per cent pay rise for MPs, instead money would go towards public services, such as the NHS.

It wouldn’t want to destroy the countryside for five-bedroom homes. Instead it would create council houses and aim to make renting cheaper. Empty buildings would be restored to become council/affordable housing. Instead of the countryside becoming urbanised, town centres would become greener, more pleasant and wildlife-friendly – also benefitting people’s health.

My party would be neither ‘PC’ nor racist. It would treat people as, well, people, with a helping hand for those disadvantaged – the poor, ill, elderly and disabled.

Jane, Lancashire