A group of progressive Conservative MPs says that supporting the green economy is the route for their party to win the next election.
In a report ‘2020 Vision: An agenda for transformation’ the MPs outline their plans for policies for the 2015 election campaign, including the key tenet of a commitment to the green economy. They are members of the 2020 Group which says it backs “aspirational and liberal economics” and “a strong, just and pluralist society”.
The authors, Laura Sandys and Claire Perry, supported by 10 other MPs, claim in their document that the green economy is imperative for UK competitiveness, to deal with resource limitations and climate change.
They describe a new industrial revolution in which business models will shift towards the green and ethical to gain financial security in a fluctuating global market.
“Ultimately, the barometer of success will be when we no longer discuss the ‘green economy’,” they said.
Waste industry insiders have told MRW that the agenda document is ‘thin’ and does not include detailed policy ideas for the green economy although it is due to be fleshed out in the next year into a fuller green policy manifesto, according to climate change minister Greg Barker’s preface.
The green economy is a growth area in the economy that constituted a third of the UK’s economic growth in 2011, and is bucking the recessionary trend.
The agenda of the green Conservative group will be likely to cause conflict with right-wing fellow party backbenchers who are vociferously against green policies.
In addition, there has been controversy over the appointment of Stephen Lovegrove as the permanent secretary of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) - the highest civil servant position in the department - instead of David Kennedy the chief executive of the Climate Change Committee.
The decision to disregard the favoured candidate, Kennedy, who believes in setting a decarbonisation target by 2030, has been interpreted as David Cameron pandering to the right-wing of his party.
Peter Jones, director of the Ecolateral waste industry consultancy, said: “The PM’s approach to renewable energy appears ambiguous given his rejection of preferred candidates put forward by DECC.”