Socialist Worker

Protests mark Tories' backward environmental policies

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2502

Londonprotest

The protest in London               Picture: Guy Smallman


The first anniversary of the Tories’ general election victory today, Sunday, saw 500 people walking backwards down Whitehall. The march was called by the Campaign against Climate Change (CCC) to highlight how the government is going backwards on climate policy.

Suzanne Jeffery, chair of CCC, told Socialist Worker, “In just a year they’ve systematically dismantled policies that, however inadequate, were steps towards dealing with climate change.

“The Tories’ policies on the environment are just like their policies on austerity—it’s only the tiny minority of the rich elite who benefit while ordinary people suffer the consequences.”

Art student Kirstin Boomerand her friendshad travelled down fromOxfordshire.“We want to do anything that can make a difference,” she told Socialist Worker. “It’s particularly important for young people as we’re the ones who’ll live with the consequences of what happens now.”

Other protests took place in cities including Manchester and Bristol. In Nottingham around 50 protesters, mostly wearingDavidCameron masks, walked backwards to the constituency office of business minister Anna Soubry.

The London protest started with moving speeches in Trafalgar Square from flood victims, including Kye Gbangola from Chertsey.

He became paraplegic and his seven year old son Zane died after their Chertsey home flooded in 2014. The family argues this is due to Hydrogen Cyanide released by floodwaters hitting a former landfill site.They were denied legal aid to put their case at the coming inquest into Zane’s death.

Campaigners marched chanting“Save our planet” and singing reworded songs.

They held up cardboard solar panels outside the Department for Energy and Climate Change, where fracking campaigners and solar power developers talked about the Tories’ energy policy.

The government has slashed subsidies for renewables and made it harder to get permission to build windfarms.

The government has slashed subsidies for renewables and made it harder to get permission to build windfarms. At the same time they have thrown cash at fossil fuels and trying to overturn councils that vote not to allow fracking.

Outside Downing Street Sheila Menon, one of the Heathrow 13 protesters almost jailed earlier this year for direct action against airport expansion, called out Cameron’s backsliding. He pledged in his 2010 manifesto that there would be no new runway in London.

At the Department of Health campaigners highlighted the health impacts of environmental policy.

The government is building new roads that will increase pollutionwhile cutting public transport. It is trying to wriggle out of its legal obligation to tackle air pollution in cities that kills 40,000 every year. It has slashed support for home insulation—increasing both energy emissions and winter deaths.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and Labour shadow environment minister Barry Gardiner were among the speakers at the closing rally.

Asad Rehman from Friends of the Earth said, “Climate injustices have names and addresses, some of them right here in London. They are our corporations, our banks, and of course our governments.”

Thanks to Richard Buckwell

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