CIEH urges Liz Truss to tackle twin crises of climate change and cost of living

05 September 2022, Ciaran Donaghy

Following the election of Liz Truss MP as the new leader of the Conservative Party, and new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has urged the new Prime Minister to prioritise environmental health measures as a means of tackling the twin crises of climate change and soaring cost of living.

The new Prime Minister will be faced with the difficult task of leading the country amidst soaring energy bills, rampant inflation, and concerns regarding energy security in the immediate term, while also having to ensure the UK meets its mid and long-term climate change ambitions.

Ofgem’s recent decision to increase the price-cap to £3,549 means millions of households will be plunged into fuel poverty this winter. Furthermore, their decision to implement a quarterly price cap means that consumers are at risk of even further increases in January, with market analysts predicting January’s price cap to be as high as £4,650.

While Liz Truss promised “more help is coming” with respect to tackling soaring energy bills, CIEH urges that she introduces an Emergency Budget which will freeze energy bills and introduce further financial support to households struggling with their energy bills, as well as introducing a raft of energy efficiency measures. This will have the dual impact of both lowering bills and supporting households through this spiralling cost of living crisis, while also effectively tackling climate change.

Longer term, the new Prime Minister will also have to ensure we have robust policies in place to improve air quality, tackle rising concerns regarding water companies dumping raw sewage into our waterways and ensuring that any new trade deals do not result in reduced food standards.

Ross Matthewman, Head of Policy and Campaigns at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, said:

“We would like to congratulate Liz Truss on her successful campaign to become the new leader of the Conservative Party and the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

She takes over the running of the country at a vital time, with concerns about inflation, soaring energy bills and the ongoing war in Ukraine threatening our energy security. We at CIEH urge Prime Minister Truss to prioritise strengthening environmental health measures as a means of both meeting these urgent challenges, as well as ensuring the UK remains a world leader in meeting our climate change objectives.

Whether through immediate policies such as freezing energy bills, reversing the quarterly price cap, and targeted energy efficiency measures to better insulate the poorest households, or through long-term measures such as enhancing air quality targets, tighter regulation of water companies dumping raw sewage in our waterways, or ensuring new trade deals either meet or enhance or food standards. Prioritising environmental health policies should be at the forefront of this new administration and we at CIEH look forward to proactively engaging the new government on these urgent and important issues.”

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