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David Cameron should be worried

This comment by Green Alliance director Matthew Spencer first appeared in the Evening Standard.

David Cameron should be worried that his party is now being regularly portrayed as dropping its environmental pledges.  Matthew d’Ancona, writing in Wednesday’s Evening Standard, read the reshuffle as a sign that ‘tory greenery’ was a fad, but it is so much more than a passing fashion.

At the last election David Cameron asked the electorate to ‘vote blue, go green’. No equivocation there.  It’s an issue of his personal credibility, but also a test of his party’s sanity. Hugging a husky was his way of signalling that he was going to govern from the centre of British politics.

Green is vital for the economy
Green policy is also important for the future of the British economy.  Green business activity is growing at four per cent a year, despite the downturn, and contributed a third of the UK’s total growth last year. Over a quarter of a million people in London and the south east now work in environmental business, and the City has emerged as the world’s clean energy financing capital. This economic success, demonstrated by our recent infographic, has been stimulated by policy support from all three parties over many years.

Conservatives need to reassure us that they care
The Conservatives now need a high profile ministerial champion of the environment to reassure business and investors that the party isn’t drifting away from this consensus. Without a strong green tory voice in government voters may conclude that only the Lib-Dems care, and every environmental policy negotiation risks becoming polarised along party lines for the first time in British politics.

Green economy: a UK success story was published by Green Alliance on 31 August

Photograph: Guillaume Paumier/flickr

Written by

Matthew has been director of Green Alliance since May 2010 and has 25 years experience of UK and international environmental issues. Prior to Green Alliance, Matthew was head of government affairs at the Carbon Trust; campaign director at Greenpeace UK and founder and chief executive of the renewable energy agency Regen SW, where he developed Wave Hub, the world’s first proving ground for wave energy farms. Follow on Twitter @Spencerthink