Ocean waves

Prime Minister, don't dilute net zero policies

2 minute read

The UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, is set to dilute net zero policies, threatening our ocean and future.

Deeply troubled by this news, we’ve written an open letter urging him to reconsider, which has been co-signed by organisations that share our concerns, including the RSPB, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, RSPCA, and more.

Net zero open letter 1
Net zero open letter signatures

Dear Prime Minister,

As a sector championing our natural world, we are very troubled by the news of net zero policies being diluted. The UK has worked hard over past governments to build a reputation of credibility on issues facing our natural spaces and ocean and it has been made clear that urgent action is needed to combat the climate and nature emergency. Yet, news of delays to net zero key targets directly contradicts this.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Oliver Dowden MP is currently leading the UK delegation in New York at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2023 Summit. We cannot stand on the international stage promising to take action towards a better society and environment, while at home we tear up the very commitments required to fulfil these promises.

Currently the UK is a global leader in establishing net zero policies, but back pedalling on plans such as fossil fuels, clean technology, recycling programmes and green vehicles will ensure that we fall far behind the countries willing to take serious action. We have seen the hardship and struggle that the cost-of-living crisis has caused to the UK public and reversing commitments could increase bills placing further pressure on households, undermining business certainty and reducing investment in our economy.

In 2021, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, you attended the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). At this historic event, you publicly backed net zero targets to tackle climate change and vowed to make the UK ‘the world’s first net zero aligned financial centre’, supporting the move away from coal and shift towards electric vehicles.

Today, we remind you of your own words and urge you not to turn your back on land and ocean by fulfilling commitments made to ensure the UK is net zero by 2050. Without firm and purposeful action now, we risk sacrificing future generations, the environment, and our economy in favour of misguided and short-sighted decisions. Please reconsider and act in the best interest of people, planet and nature.

Yours sincerely,

Sandy Luk, CEO, Marine Conservation Society

With support from:

Gill Perkins, CEO, Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Sarah Carr, CEO Naturewatch Foundation

Steven Andrews, CEO, Earthwatch Europe

Matt Larsen-Daw, CEO, Mammal Society

Matt Browne, Head of Policy & Advocacy, Wildlife & Countryside Link

Sarah Carr, CEO, Naturewatch Foundation

Jayne Manley, CEO Earth Trust

Emma Slawinski, Policy Director, RSPCA

Kit Stoner, CEO, Bat Conservation Trust

Tony Gent, CEO, Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust

Catherine Flitcroft, British Mountaineering Council

Helen Browning, CEO, Soil Association

Jamie Christon, CEO, Chester Zoo

Will Travers OBE, co-founder and Executive President, Born Free Foundation

David Bunt, CEO, Institute of Fisheries Management

Matthew Gould, CEO, Zoological Society of London

Katie-jo Luxton, Executive Director Global Conservation, The RSPB

Chris Butler-Stroud, CEO, Whale and Dolphin Conservation

Jeremy Biggs, CEO, Freshwater Habitats Trust

Catherine Gunby, Executive Director, Fidra

Dr Mark Avery, Co-Director, Wild Justice

Hugo Tagholm, Executive Director and Vice President, Oceana UK

Nick Jones, Executive Director, Humane Society International/UK

Dr. Hazel Norman, CEO, British Ecological Society