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Suffolk peer leads calls for urgent Government action on climate change

PUBLISHED: 06:00 29 June 2017

Suffolk peer Lord Deben, who chairs the Government's independent advisory committee on climate change. Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk peer Lord Deben, who chairs the Government's independent advisory committee on climate change. Picture: ARCHANT


The UK’s move to a low-carbon economy is in danger of being derailed by a lack of Government action, a high-powered committee chaired by a Suffolk peer has warned.

In its annual progress report to Parliament, the Committee on Climate Change - whose chairman is Lord Deben - calls for “urgent” plans to meet legal targets for carbon cuts by 2032. It also wants action to bridge the gap between existing policies and what is needed to achieve required emissions reductions by the mid-2020s.

More ambitious plans were needed to deal with the impacts of climate change, such as increased flooding and heatwaves that were already inevitable, it said. Action was also urgently needed to boost electric vehicles and cut greenhouse gas emissions from the heating of homes to help meet UK climate targets.

Lord Deben - who as John Gummer was Conservative MP for the former Eye constituency and its successor Suffolk Coastal from 1979 to 2010 - is a former Environment Secretary. He has chaired the Government’s independent advisory Committee on Climate Change since 2012.

He said there were economic opportunities in the shift to low-carbon, but unless the UK had a clear path, investors would invest elsewhere. Although prices of renewables and batteries for electric vehicles were falling, he said ministers could not leave things to the market.

“This is all about facing the fact that climate change doesn’t wait,” he said. “We shouldn’t underestimate the power and force of those who are in situ - there are very large forces to try to ensure that what is, continues to be, great investment by people who don’t want change. Government has a responsibility to ensure that change happens.”

Such a move was needed not just to fight climate change but to be competitive in a post-Brexit world, he said. “We’re fighting a battle which has to be won, and has to be won quickly,” he warned.

The committee said overall UK emissions had fallen by about 42% since 1990 but greenhouse gases from transport and buildings were rising.

A Government spokeswoman said UK emissions had been cut by more than one-third while the economy had grown by more than two-thirds. A “burgeoning” low-carbon sector was being supported but the Government recognised more needed to be done.

Three people have been released pending further investigation following a robbery at a Suffolk convenience store last night which saw staff threatened with a metal pole.

Education bosses in Suffolk have said a culture of parental preference has left more than 82% of the county’s schools with unfilled places, while the most popular are continually oversubscribed.

It’s a school affair in this week’s Throwback Thursday series, with Thurleston High and St Pancras Primary among the line-up.

Patients at the combined Ipswich and Colchester hospitals will be able to use technology such as mobile phone apps to “self-service” their care plans.

Police in Essex are appealing for information to help find 31-year-old Wally Smith who is wanted in connection to a number of car robberies and burglaries in the county.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of arson after a house fire in Kelsale near Saxmundham.

Plans to build an Aldi store in Martlesham Heath are set to get the green light on Monday after overwhelming public support resulted in nearly 900 letters backing the build.

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