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Climate Change Committee Progress Report to Parliament / Letter to MPs

List of addressee MPs

Nigel Adams (MP for Selby and Ainsty)

Dehenna Davison (MP for Bishop Auckland)

Peter Gibson (MP for Darlington)

Kevin Hollinrake (MP for Malton and Thirsk)

Andrew Jones (MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough)

Rachael Maskell (MP for York)

Julian Smith (MP for Skipton and Ripon)

Rishi Sunak (MP for Richmond)


Regarding the Climate Change Committee Progress Report to Parliament published 16 June


Dear Members of Parliament,

We are writing to you and your fellow MPs as community groups from across your constituencies in North Yorkshire, York and Durham to urge you to press for more urgent action on decarbonisation and climate resilience polices.

You will no doubt be aware of the CCC’s recent Progress Reports to Parliament on reducing emissions and adapting to climate change.

While the CCC in its role as the UK’s independent adviser on tackling climate change praises the UK government for setting ambitious targets, it is clearly very concerned about delays in producing the strategies and policies that will allow us to achieve those targets.

The Joint Foreword by Lord Deben and Baroness Brown makes the following observations:

“This demands a step change in Government action, but it is hard to discern any comprehensive strategy in the climate plans we have seen in the last 12 months. There are gaps and ambiguities."

“We continue to blunder into high-carbon choices. Our Planning system and other fundamental structures have not been recast to meet our legal and international climate commitments.”


“The willingness to set emissions targets of genuine ambition contrasts with a reluctance to implement the realistic policies necessary to achieve them.”


“It has therefore been a year of climate contradictions. Important statements of ambition, like the agreement to phase out the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans, have been undermined by delays to essential legislation and much-needed plans to decarbonise buildings and improve their climate resilience. We await a Treasury Net Zero Review, once promised in autumn 2020. The transport decarbonisation plan is still slated, somewhat optimistically, for spring 2021. A pattern has emerged of Government strategies that are later than planned and, when they do emerge, short of the required policy ambition.”

“It is time for the Government to implement these changes with the urgency that the science demands.”

“Without a much stronger and urgent effort, we will breach 1.5°C of warming in the early 2030s and remain ill-prepared for the future.”


“As host of the upcoming UN climate talks (‘COP26’) the UK has a particular responsibility to implement effective climate action and drive global efforts. Much greater urgency is now required from Ministers.”


“Some government departments are not sufficiently prioritising climate change, and none are yet moving at the pace required.”


The same points were made on Radio 4’s Today programme by Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the CCC. In particular, he notes “a genuine gulf between what the government has committed to and the action on the ground to deliver on it.”

On the same programme, Secretary of State for the Environment George Eustice rejected the criticism, pointing to considerable progress on offshore wind power and grid electrification and emphasising the Prime Minister’s commitment to action on climate change.

As environmental groups in your constituencies, we are very concerned by the CCC’s report and in particular at the delays in presenting ambitious policies to back up climate change targets with the required sense of urgency.

Equally, we feel it is not appropriate for George Eustice to simply reject the assessment of the government’s own expert advisers. A more constructive approach would be to accept and implement the meticulously prepared recommendations offered in the third part of the report and commit to ratcheting up the pace of work in all the policy areas referenced in the report (especially the Net Zero Strategy including decarbonisation of buildings, transport, industry and farming) to ensure that ambitious policies and strategies are in place well before November.

We appreciate working with each of you to ensure local climate action and we now urge you to use all your influence in Parliament and within government to expedite work on these crucial policies.

Kind regards

Thirsk Friends of the Earth, David Tonge, Local Group Coordinator,

The Time is Now – Thirsk and Malton, Mark Whiteman,

Zero Carbon Harrogate, Jemima Parker, Chair,

MakeItWild, Helen Neave, Founder,


Nidderdale Climate + Environment Group, Peter Wright,  


CPRE North Yorkshire, Jan Arger, Chair,


Darlington Friends of the Earth, Kendra Ullyart, Local Group Coordinator,  


Helmsley Green Team, Eileen Shearer, Co-founder,


Ryedale Environmental Group, Joy Andrews,


Kirby Misperton Environmental Group, Peter Winter,

Bishop Auckland Climate Action, Beth Hayward,


Thirsk Churches Together Ecology Group, The Revd Canon Adrian Botwright,


Sustainable Knaresborough, Shan Oakes,   


Malton & Norton Green Drinks, Josephine Downs,


Climate Action Stokesley and Villages, Caryn Loftus,

Hovingham Environmental Group 'Project Purple', David Davis,


Date: 1 July 2021 

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