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Reader's letter: Eco-efforts are undermined

Our MP, Robert Jenrick, has determined he shouldn’t halt plans for a new coal mine in Cumbria on the basis it is a local issue.

But it is a local issue for those of us who are doing their bit in support of the UK’s Net Zero goal, only to see Mr Jenrick failing to apply government policy in his ministerial role?

In the past year members of Green Southwell network have installed solar PV, insulated homes, focused on buying local food or growing our own, avoided plastic products, planted hedges and begun establishing a new meadow.

The work on local public green space has been a particular pleasure as it is enhancing the local landscape, saving local taxpayer money, and providing us with a socially-distanced green gym, as well as helping nature soak up some of our town’s carbon emissions.

But all this comes to nothing if the big picture doesn’t change.

This mine will emit nearly four times the amount of pollution than is deemed necessary or appropriate by the government’s advisors.

And the benefits come to little.

The promise of 500 jobs would be swamped by a long-term programme of insulating homes that would deliver 500,000 jobs across the country.

And the claimed need for coal for steel production should be questioned when there are alternatives emerging, such as hydrogen.

Why does that matter to the residents of the Newark constituency? Because for every failure to limit polluting fuels in big industry, we will have to pay the price ­— either financially, as other sectors are forced to make more carbon savings that are less cost-effective than change in the steel sector, or environmentally, as the changing climate starts to take effect.

To get to Net Zero at the pace needed, every opportunity must be taken.

It is deeply worrying and frustrating that a government minister has missed this opportunity to put government policy into practice and show it is time to move on from fossil fuels ­— and in doing so undermines efforts by his constituents to help his government meet its environmental goal. ­ ­— LIZ LAINE AND RUTH MURRAY, co-founders Green Southwell.

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