Metro Mayor urges government rethink on green policy ‘backsliding’

Liverpool City Region’s Metro Mayor has urged the government to rethink a roll-back of its major green policies.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced last week he would delay a ban on the sales of new petrol and diesel cars by five years as well as the phasing out of gas boilers.

Mr Sunak said continuing on the existing path would have risked “losing the consent of the British people” and put net zero targets at risk.

Writing to the Prime Minister, Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said changing tack “will cost livelihoods” and “increase energy bills at a time when families are already struggling to make ends meet.”

In his letter, Mr Rotheram said, “Businesses across the country have rightly made significant investments in emerging technologies to support the lower carbon future our country so desperately needs, including here in the Liverpool City Region.”

The former Labour MP said how our area has been home to a “thriving car manufacturing industry for decades” citing Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Stellantis operating in the region.

The Labour Mayor added, “To falter on the 2030 ban of new petrol and diesel cars now would undermine much of the progress and investment they have taken to reach this point.” He said how delaying much of the green targets set for the UK could “threaten to do untold damage” to industry nationally.

In 2019, the Liverpool City Region declared a climate emergency, setting a target to become net zero by 2040. The UK government is seeking to do so by 2050.

Mr Rotheram said, “I am concerned that, should your government’s backsliding continue, it threatens to undo much of the progress our area has made locally. This is before we even consider the moral case for net zero – saving the very planet we live on. 

“Climate change presents a challenge on a scale like nothing we have even seen – and the UK has a duty to play its part.”

The Metro Mayor, who will seek a third term in two years’ time, said the government’s decisions will have a “long-term irreversible impact” on the next generation. He said: “Prime Minister, now is not the time for the UK to rest on its laurels.

“For the sake of our economy, our planet and the future of our children, I urge you to do the right thing and reconsider your decision.”


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