Candidates for the Green Party in Cornwall today called for a ‘New Deal for Nature’ and appealed to voters to remember Cornwall’s natural environment and the threats it faces.
Collin Harker, Green Party candidate for St Austell and Newquay said:
“Our wonderful natural environment is Cornwall’s most precious resource – it’s vital for our common prosperity and wellbeing.
“So it’s shocking that Cornwall’s Conservative MPs have done so little to protect this resource from the many threats it faces – most of all catastrophic climate change. All of them – including Steve Double MP – have consistently voted against measures to tackle the climate emergency that scientists are warning is the greatest threat to the natural world. And Boris Johnson couldn’t even be bothered to turn up for Channel Four’s leaders’ debate on climate.”
Karen La Borde, Green candidate for Camborne and Redruth, said:
“I find it particularly worrying that George Eustice, Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth and Minister of State at DEFRA, has spoken of his eagerness to scrap the EU Habitats Directive and Birds Directive, which give vital legal protection to natural habitats and bird species. We are facing an ecological emergency and we need to be thinking about how we can enhance and restore biodiversity, not treating the natural environment as an irritation that gets in the way of profit.”
Tom Scott, standing for Green Party in Truro and Falmouth, said:
“One of the reasons I’ve been campaigning for the past two years for a People’s Vote is because I believe Brexit poses a real threat to safeguards that protect Cornwall’s coastal environment. And I’m far from being alone in this.
“Surfers Against Sewage, for instance, has said that EU directives have been fundamental in protecting our wild world over the last 25 years, and have proved highly effective in helping to tackle pollution of Cornwall’s coastal waters. I have absolutely no confidence that this will continue if Boris Johnson succeeds in getting the hard Brexit he wants.”
The Green Party is calling for a new approach that regenerates and reinstates nature. Among other measures, its New Deal for Nature would create a new ‘ecocide’ law to prevent crimes against the natural environment. It also aims to strengthen the protections currently provided by the Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest, with development in these areas only being permitted in exceptional circumstances.
The party is calling for major changes to the National Planning Policy Framework, so that it no longer imposes centrally set development targets on local councils. Councils would be enabled to develop their own planning policies, based on genuine local housing need, and new social housing would need to be created in a way that preserves local ecology and creates new green spaces.
Martha Green, standing for the Greens in South East Cornwall, said: “We’ve seen far too much destructive ‘development’ that destroys large swathes of Cornwall’s countryside while failing to provide social housing for people on low incomes. This benefits no-one but the developers, and has to stop.”
Ian Flindall, the party’s candidate for St Ives who runs an award-winning sustainable farm at Morvah, described how the Green New Deal for Nature would support a transition to farming methods that work with nature rather than against it:
“Farming can and should be part of the solution to the climate and ecological emergency, helping to restore the soil as a carbon sink and enhance biodiversity. We need to work with farmers to refocus farm subsidies, helping them transition to more environmentally friendly forms of land use, including organic farming, agroforestry and mixed farming.
“We also need to stop drenching our countryside with harmful chemicals that are making it a hostile environment for many species, including bees and butterflies. We would reduce pesticide and fungicide use by at least 50% by 2022, and immediately ban the most harmful substances.”
Karen La Borde said: “Our Green Party manifesto is titled ‘If Not Now, When?’. That’s the question we hope voters will be asking themselves on 12 December. The climate and ecological emergency is not some distant prospect – it’s already here and it’s accelerating fast. A Green vote is a strong call for urgent action to protect our climate and Cornwall’s precious natural environment.”