September 22, 2021 1.05 pm This story is over 32 months old

Lincolnshire environment boss calls on PM to ‘lead by example’ on climate change

The PM came under fire after flying from London to Cornwall

Lincolnshire County Council’s environment chief is calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take a train, rather than a jet, to a major climate conference, as the county looks to move to a ‘low-carbon economy’.

Executive councillor Colin Davie said his authority should “do the right things in terms of protecting our environment”.

The Conservative member said: “This is about making sure future generations inherit a Lincolnshire of high quality of beautiful landscapes and seascapes.

“I’m not someone that believes it’s alright to get on a private jet, fly to the other side of the world, and then plant some trees somewhere else to offset it. That is not change, that is not anything other than selfish behaviour.

“I’m concerned that we’re about to host [the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November] and 100 world leaders are committed to attend it.

“I hope they will actually flight share some of them because quite honestly if we ended up with 100 private jets at Glasgow airport, that’s hardly the right message.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson came under fire last June after choosing to fly 250 miles from London to Cornwall to discuss climate change with world leaders at the G7 summit.

“I hope he takes the train from London this time, or uses public transport because ultimately, if we want people to change behaviour leaders have to change behaviour,” said Councillor Davie.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. | Photo House of Commons

Over the past few years, the council’s measures have included putting solar panels on its buildings and looking to equip all public buildings with the latest ‘green’ technology.

Councillor Davie believes all new housing in the county needs to be zero carbon and properly fitted with energy saving devices and new technology.

He said: “Even though it costs slightly more at the construction stage… we have a duty to make sure that we’re equipping all new housing to the very best it can be.”

He said a massive challenge, however, would be retrofitting older housing of poorer quality but hoped planning authorities would take a lead.

Councillor Davies said Lincolnshire had been pragmatic in its aims to be zero carbon by 2050 but said there were challenges to make it achievable, including the costs.

He said: “We have to recognise there will be a big cost for every single person to pay to meet that ambition. And I don’t think we’ve ever asked people if they’re prepared to pay that price for this wonderful nirvana we are talking about.

“It’s got to be achievable at a price that Lincolnshire residents are prepared to pay. I think they’re prepared to pay it, but I’m not gonna ask them to foot a bill that’s unfair on them.”