Conservative MPs encourage the PM to put her 'personal stamp' on environmental policy

Richard Benyon’s letter, co-signed with 35 other Conservative MPs, encouraging the Prime Minister to put her ‘personal stamp on Environment Policy’:

Dear Prime Minister

Conservatives have always been in the vanguard of environmental protection. Conservatives first created the great, reforming Department of the Environment in 1970. Conservatives delivered the landmark Clean Air Act in 1956, and the Wildlife and Countryside Act in 1981. Conservatives published the UK’s first comprehensive environmental strategy This Common Inheritance in 1990.

Our 2015 manifesto commitment to establish a network of giant marine reserve in partnership with our overseas territories amounts to the single biggest conservation measure of any Government, ever. We committed to a continued crack-down on the illegal wildlife trade, to continued support for the Climate Change Act, and to cutting emissions as cost-effectively as possible.

Integral to Conservative philosophy is a deep cultural commitment to handing on a better world to our children. Lady Thatcher gave voice to this, “The core of Tory philosophy and for the case for protecting the environment are the same. No generation has a freehold on this earth. All we have is a life tenancy—with a full repairing lease.”

Over the coming months, you will be expanding your vision for the nation. As with previous Prime Ministers, we urge you to put your own personal stamp on Environment policy. We hope that as part of your vision, you will set out an ambitious plan for restoring the natural environment at home and around the world.

In particular, we urge you to:

  • Reaffirm our manifesto commitment to creating a Blue Belt of protected waters around the UK’s 14 Overseas Territories, including as a first step around the Pitcairn Islands and Ascension Island.
  • Commit to continued and thorough application of the EU’s Birds, Habitats and Bathing Water directives until equivalent UK legislation is enacted. We should incorporate in a new Nature Act the protections and powers we need.
  • Take advantage of the repatriation of the Common Agriculture Policy by shifting subsidies in favour of paying farmers for delivering services for the environment and public good.
  • Restate our commitment to fishing to maximum sustainable yield: a hard-won, UK-led reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Leaving the European Union poses risks and opportunities. With determined leadership the Government can overcome the risks and take full advantage of the opportunities to ensure our living environment flourishes for future generations. This will demonstrate that it is Conservatives who will deliver on prosperity and environmental protection. We have every expectation that you will provide that leadership.

Yours sincerely

Zac Goldsmith, Richard Benyon, Alex Chalk, Andrew Mitchell, Anne Main, Ben Howlett, Bernard Jenkin, Caroline Spelman, Charlotte Leslie, Cheryl Gillan, David Warburton, Derek Thomas, Flick Drummond, Heidi Allen, James Gray, Jason McCartney, Jeremy Lefroy, Jo Churchill, Kevin Hollinrake, Kit Malthouse, Marcus Fysh, Maria Caulfield, Matthew Offord, Neil Carmichael, Neil Parish, Nicolas Soames, Oliver Colvile, Paul Scully, Peter Bottomley, Richard Graham, Sarah Wollaston, Scott Mann, Stephen Hammond, Tania Mathias, Victoria Borwick, Will Quince