Green surge as Yorkshire voters more likely to support parties with top eco-credentials

Stock Dales countryside near Hawes Wensleydale Yorkshire Dales. Photo: Marisa Cashill
Stock Dales countryside near Hawes Wensleydale Yorkshire Dales. Photo: Marisa Cashill
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More than half of voters in Yorkshire and the Humber would favour a political party with policies most likely to protect and enhance the countryside.

A new poll commissioned by CPRE, the countryside charity, revealed 56.63 per cent of those asked in Yorkshire would be more likely to vote for a party if they had good eco-credentials, including protecting the Green Belt.

Crispin Truman, Chief Executive of CPRE, said: “The survey results show overwhelmingly that protecting and enhancing the countryside is an issue that resonates with people of all ages and in all regions.

“It shows that countryside issues could be one of the deciding factors in determining which political party forms the next government.

“CPRE therefore urges all political parties to put measures to protect and enhance our countryside front and centre of their manifestos to ensure that our treasured landscapes will be available for now and future generations to come.”

It comes as pollsters Ipsos Mori found voters were more concerned about the environment than any time in the past, ranking it above the economy, education and immigration in their list of priorities.

However the issue was beaten by Brexit and crime in terms of importance..

All three of the main parties have upped their green policies in a bid to win over eco-conscious voters next month.

But Green Party candidate Julia Brown, who is standing in Hull and East Riding, said a vote for her party had always been a vote for “people and planet”.

She said: “This is the climate election. Unlike other parties, the Green Party want to shift the focus from profit to sustainable outcomes for everyone.

“We aim to appoint a Climate Chancellor to oversee the Green New Deal and meet the target of net zero carbon by 2030.

“Here in Hull and the East Riding, where people are concerned about flood risk and the safety of their local community, this may involve managing rivers using natural methods.”

She added: “This is a climate emergency and we must act now. If not now, when?”

While Labour’s candidate Josh Fenton-Glynn, who is standing in Calder Valley where the Green Party stood aside to back him, said: “Calder Valley is on the frontline of the climate emergency following the devastating floods of 2015.

“This election is the last chance to tackle the climate emergency.”

He said Labour would bring about a “Green Industrial Revolution” and added: “Our Green New Deal will set the most ambitious climate targets of any country in the world.”

While the Conservative Party said they will triple tree-planting rates if they win the General Election.

Boris Johnson announced a £640m Nature for Climate fund which would increase tree planting in England, with the Government aiming to work with the devolved administrations to boost tree-planting rates to 30,000 hectares every year, which the party said could mean 30 million more trees.

The party has also halted fracking and vowed to invest in windfarms.

Ben Page, Chief Executive of Ipsos Mori, told The Independent: “Public anxiety about the environment and climate change has been rising over the last decade, with 85 per cent of us now saying it’s a concern – up from 60 per cent in 2013. The environment is now the fifth most important issue voters say matter in the election – more important than immigration or poverty and inequality.

“It means that we will hear more about green deals and other low-carbon initiatives before 12 December. The main thing here, however, may be the need to ban things rather than simply tax them – the public sees bans as fairer.”