EARTH SUMMIT: Global Issues: `Must Do Better' Porritt Bites Blair over Failures in Green Arena
Byline: JANE MERRICK
THE Government conceded it ``could do better'' on the environment after Tony Blair's record was attacked by his own green adviser on the eve of the Johannesburg Earth Summit.
Jonathon Porritt said the Prime Minister had failed to show leadership on the UK's key environmental issues like transport and waste management and his Government's green achievements were ``piecemeal''.
New Labour's ``naive adulation'' of big business was at the expense of the voluntary and other sectors, the chairman of the Government's Sustainable Development Commission added.
In remarks set to embarrass Mr Blair, who will address the summit this week, Mr Porritt even appeared to question whether the Prime Minister knew exactly what sustainable development - the subject of the UN conference -meant.
Mr Porritt said he felt the Prime Minister had ``dumped'' the issue of sustainable development into the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when it also embraced the economy, global relations, society and health.
He criticised the ``paralysis'' and ``cowardice'' in Government at failing to address the reform of institutions like the World Trade Organisation and the IMF and large multi-national companies.
Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett, who arrived in Johannesburg to head up the UK delegation, said the criticisms made by Mr Porritt were ``not entirely fair''.
She said, ``I don't accept that the Prime Minister isn't showing leadership on this issue, although I entirely agree with Jonathon Porritt that he has the capacity - and indeed I believe the will - to try to make a real impact at this summit on our future.
``I fully accept that he is right to say, and I think all of us would accept, including the Prime Minister, that there is much more to do on these issues. A lot has been done to put sustainable development at the heart of Government policy, but what I do accept is that we need to do more and do better, and perhaps we need to be seen to do it more. …