Coalition defends 'green government' claim

The Government has defended its "greenest ever" claim after it was accused of serial incompetence in its handling of the environment.

Defra went on the defence after a point-by-point policy breakdown by a leading environmental campaigner on post-election claims.

In the report, ex-Friends of the Earth director Jonathon Porritt singled out plans for a natural environment white paper, for which details were yet to be published.

A pledge to promote green spaces and wildlife corridors had not been backed up with policy, Porritt said, while the Big Tree Plant had been overshadowed by forest sell off attempt, labelled inept and inappropriate.

A pledge to protect green belts had been met with silence, while a promised clamp down on illegal logging had been watered down, he said.

Porritt scrutinised 77 policies and found "little or no progress" in more than three quarters one year after the coalition came to power.

But Defra chief Caroline Spelman said the challenges were long-term. "It's about embedding the value of our environment in the economy and national consciousness."


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