The Prime Minister is absolutely right to change the Government’s approach to being clean and green.
The UK is already a world leader on climate change, with emissions down almost 50 percent since 1990! We lead the world on this, but we should be focusing on innovation and technology, on clean energy and clean fuels, not on measures that hit people in the pocket or that limit people’s freedoms.
Last week, Rishi Sunak announced we’re taking aim at these net zero policies that will hit people in their pockets the most, and that's exactly right. We don't get anywhere by making people poorer.
I’m pleased to say that common sense prevails, and I welcome the more pragmatic and balanced approach to 'net zero' the Government is taking.
I'm a big backer of the green economy. Clean fuels, renewables, fusion and nuclear energy, and our region will be leading the way in this in the decades to come - it's tech and innovation that can make things more sustainable.
We already have Rolls Royce building modular reactors here, and soon we’ll also have the world’s first STEP Fusion reactor too, worth over £20 billion of investment.
However, I’m no fan of the approach that reduces the argument for net zero to 'ban this, ban that, make people's lives harder'.
For any kind of ‘net zero’ to work, people need to feel the benefits of replacing their boiler or buying an electric car, and currently, it’s fair to say a large amount of people across Mansfield and the wider country feel like net zero means paying more and getting less!
I think most people get that we absolutely should transition to cleaner and greener power but to just take the UK banning petrol and diesel cars by 2030, for example, when the rest of the world says 2035, just means manufacturers will go and make their cars somewhere else, at the expense of British jobs.
Whilst campaigners have since queued up to slate the PM, the truth is that Whitehall can ban whatever it likes, but if people can't afford to go out and buy new cars and boilers anyway, it's all meaningless – never mind the fact that EV charging infrastructure couldn't cope anyway. More important than Twitter commentators, local employers like Toyota have backed the PM’s plan.
It’s the disconnect between those living in London and those outside the M25 that has largely shaped these policies to begin with, with the argument already being made by commentators that these changes won’t help anyone, because they believe the poorest in our society don’t own cars.
In reality, in my constituency, people can't just hop on the tube to work. Public transport like that doesn't exist outside of big cities, and so many rely on their car as an absolute vital lifeline.
The PM has done exactly the right thing, shifting this agenda towards innovation, technology and clean energy and fuels rather than the reductive bans and taxes that just make lives harder.
I’m a big believer in giving people choice, and I know that people will choose cleaner options when they are both effective and reasonably priced.