Gordon Brown has raised concerns among environmentalists by downgrading the status of a cabinet committee set up to investigate ways to tackle climate change.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair set up and chaired the committee himself, claiming that cutting CO2 emissions was a key priority.

But the new incumbent of Number 10 has downgraded the cabinet committee on climate change to a sub-committee, which will now be chaired by the Chancellor of the Exchequer rather than the Premier.

He has also scrapped the ministerial committee on sustainable development, a committee which sought to lower the environmental impact of all Government departments.

Ministerial committees play a key role in developing Government policy and were established to allow ministers to thrash out plans relevant to their areas of expertise without the whole cabinet having to meet to discuss the detail of every policy.

Sam Bond

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