Yorkshire Mayor Wants Net Zero Devolved Accusing Rishi Sunak Of "Dereliction" Of Leadership
Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin (Alamy)
Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin has reiterated calls for net zero decision making to be handed to regional leaders, after she said that Rishi Sunak “won’t” make “tough choices” as he watered down a number of the UK’s climate pledges.
On Wednesday Sunak announced that the government would water down a number of net zero commitments, including the plan to outlaw the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
The transition from old boilers to heat pumps has also been delayed, and property owners will no longer need to make upgrades to their homes to make them more energy efficient.
Brabin, the former Labour MP who has been Mayor of West Yorkshire since 2021 called the Prime Minister’s decisions a “dereliction of climate leadership” and wants powers to be set locally.
“The Prime Minister has deliberately sabotaged the confidence of business to invest in green jobs and undermined our efforts to support people with rising fossil fuel costs," she said.
“People expect the Government to make the tough choices, yesterday Rishi Sunak showed he won’t.”
The former MP for Batley and Span added that it is “time for the job of delivering net zero to be devolved” with powers to set “local targets” and access funding.
It is not the first time regional figures have called for more power on environmental measures.
In 2021, mayors including Brabin and Conservative mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street supported a statement from figures across local government, which called for legislation to give more powers to devolved bodies.
“Regional, city and local authorities must be the partners of choice for government in the development of, and delivering on, net zero commitments,” the document said at the time.
It said that the government should bring forward a Net Zero Local Powers Bill which would help local authorities to take action on climate change issues.
Sunak’s decisions on climate change policies split wings of the Tory party yesterday, as PoliticsHome reported some thought it would appeal to the party’s “core vote”.
However there were others who were unhappy with the rules being relaxed.
Peer Zac Goldsmith, who blamed his June resignation as a foreign office minister on Sunak's apathy for environmental issues, said dozens of Conservative "friends" had contacted him to say the shift in policy "vindicated" his decision to quit the government benches.
"We need an election. Now," Goldsmith added.
Former prime minister Boris Johnson also weighed into the row on Wednesday afternoon warning government that businesses needed "certainty" about the UK's net zero commitments in order to have the confidence to invest in Britain.
"We cannot afford to falter now or in any way lose our ambition for this country," he said.
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