It’s not a secret that the Green Party is not one of new Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s top admirers. A disastrous term as Education Secretary, a divisive voice for the Leave campaign and an absurd leadership bid have left his reputation in tatters.
Added to this list is the fact that Gove voted for the fracking nightmare. That he voted to put a tax on clean, renewable energy – which was originally created to discourage dirty fossil fuels. That he voted against putting climate targets in line with our international responsibilities and tried to wipe climate change from the national curriculum.
In fact, it’s pretty hard to think of any politician as ill-equipped to be Environment Secretary as Michael Gove. So it was no surprise that one of the things he did during his first two weeks in the post was to put yet another delay on the government’s 25-Year Environment Plan – which was promised in the Conservatives’ 2015 manifesto and which is meant to provide a new framework for environmental management – announcing that it is not guaranteed to be published this year.
This is another example of the recklessness that comes with Gove’s appointment as secretary of state and shows his clear intent to play fast and loose with the environment at a time when we need a safe pair of hands.
The 25-Year Environment Plan is already long overdue and yet another delay compounds concerns that Gove will slash environmental protections and make the environment subservient to his wider political agenda. The plan must be published as a matter of urgency, and the need for a new Environment Protection Act is also, clearly, greater than ever.