Tory Environment Minister wins ‘award’ for anti-green transport policy

An environmental group that promotes green business practices has awarded Shadow Environment Minister John Redwood the 1999 Grey Ribbon Award, describing him as the political figure who has done the most to obstruct progress towards sustainable development over the last parliamentary year.

Sustainability group Forum for the Future said the Tory environment spokesman was given the award because he had championed an “ignorant, backward-looking and narrow-minded transport policy” that “blew the emerging consensus [on the issue] out of the water.”

Redwood is accused of holding to “atavistic tribal loyalties” and being guilty of “engineering reasons to disagree with each other on even the simplest of environmental issues.”

Issuing the ‘award’, the editor of the Forum’s Green Future’s magazine, Martin Wright, said Redwood “has amply lived up to his reputation as a man who seems to understand little, and care less, about the future of life on earth.”

Redwood’s crimes include calling for an increase in speed limits, while describing traffic calming and speed cameras as “impediments” in the motorist’s path and of a lack of understanding issues such as social and ethical accounting.

“The worst thing is he claims to be green: he could do a lot of damage. Do not believe a single word this man says,” Wright said.

A special dishonourable mention also went to European Environment Commissioner Rjitt Bjerragard “in recognition of her obstructiveness on almost every single environmental issue… the environment in Europe has suffered very significantly from having her there,” Wright said.

The rest of the award ceremony was taken up with the more positive example set by the ‘oldies and goldies’ as Forum founder member, Jonathan Porrit, described them.

  • Prince Charles was dubbed the Most Inspirational Figure Worldwide, for his intervention in the GM debate. The judges described Charles as “a conviction Prince, holding to his beliefs with a tenacity which most career politicians can only have nightmares of”
  • Environment Minister Michael Meacher was given a Special Environment Award for the second year running. Forum for the Future described Michael Meacher as a model of “integrity, openness, and intelligent common sense, bolstered by a real personal commitment to a more sustainable future”
  • Best Member of the House of Commons went to Labour MP David Chaytor. The judges were impressed by his energy and tenacity, as well as the breadth of his concerns. He made no fewer than 2,005 appearances in Hansard over the year on topics as varied as climate change, SSSIs, nuclear power and world trade, and repeatedly emphasised the links between environmental degradation and social injustice
  • Baroness Young of Old Scone was awarded Best Member of the House of Lords for her work on conservation policy and for challenging the Government on biotech and GM food.
  • A Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Lord Beaumont of Whitley. Tim Beaumont recently left the Lib Dems to become Britain’s first ever Green peer. A former Liberal Party President and Chair, Beaumont founded the Green Alliance in 1979.
  • The Best Member of the European Parliament award went to Conservative MP Tom Spencer for his “knowledge and enthusiasm on energy and climate change”
  • The Best Environmental Campaign by a Parliamentarian was won by former Tory chief whip Tim Renton for his contributions in the House of Lords on conservation issues – notably efforts to enhance the status of ‘Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty’
  • Best International Environmental Achievement went to the Bellona Foundation for its investigation into the deterioration of the Russian Navy’s nuclear reactors (please see related story in edie’s World Section this week)

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