A Suffolk MP has been branded a "liar" by a leading conservation charity over government plans for housing developments.

Thérèse Coffey, Suffolk Coastal MP and Environment Secretary, was one of three ministers to be condemned in a tweet from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

The RSPB has now apologised for the post, saying they were "deeply frustrated" but were sorry for "attacking the people, not the policy".

The tweet, which has not been deleted, tagged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove and Dr Coffey and reads: “LIARS! You said you wouldn’t weaken environmental protections.

"And yet that’s just what you are doing. You lie, and you lie, and you lie again. And we’ve had enough.”

The post hit out at the government’s amendments to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, saying it offered its “first reversal in environmental legislation for decades” by removing previous regulations to allow unmitigated pollution in new housing developments.

The post comes after campaigners shared their concern that relaxing rules on the amount of nutrients that could be released into rivers by new developments could increase algae and kill fish.


In a statement on its official Twitter page, a charity spokesman said: “We are in a nature and climate emergency and that demands urgent action. The RSPB is deeply frustrated by the government's reneging on its environmental promises. But that frustration has led us to attack the people not the policy.

“This falls below the standard we set ourselves and for that we apologise. We will continue to campaign vigorously on behalf of nature but we will always do so in a polite and considered manner.”

Thérèse Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal, said: “The RSPB have already apologised for their tweet and were completely wrong to suggest environmental protections are being weakened.

"In fact, our new plans enhance protections, going further than ever before in cutting nutrients in our waterways - including £200million of funding to reduce run-offs from agriculture; plans to upgrade wastewater treatment works; catchment approaches and nature-based solutions.

"These new measures will ensure that we fully offset the small amount of nutrient pollution from development, whilst unlocking the new homes that local communities need.”