David Cameron urged to give Owen Paterson the boot
Hundreds of wellington boots have been dumped on the steps of the Department of the Environment this morning (Wednesday 9 July 2014) by Friends of the Earth, which is calling on the Prime Minister to “Give Owen Paterson the boot" because of his failure to take climate change seriously.
The environment charity is calling for the Environment Secretary to be sacked in the forthcoming reshuffle because he does not accept the science of man-made global warming and has failed to prepare the UK for worsening floods as climate change kicks in.
The protest comes as it was revealed that Owen Paterson has resisted offers from the Met Office's Chief Scientist to brief him on climate change science, and as government advisers criticised the Coalition for not investing enough in flood defences.
Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Guy Shrubsole said:
"It's simply not credible for a man who doesn't believe in man-made global warming to be put in charge of protecting the country from climate change.
"Owen Paterson thinks we can all just relax and adapt to climate change. He should try telling that to the thousands of people who had to wade in their wellies through filthy floodwaters during our wettest winter ever.
"Owen Paterson is out of his depth - David Cameron should give him the boot as soon as possible."
Owen Paterson notoriously turned up in Somerset during the height of the winter floods without wearing any welly boots.
The wellington boots used in the protest are all cast-offs from the recent Glastonbury festival in Somerset, and will be given to Festival Reboot, a welly recycling charity.
Notes to editors:
1. Friends of the Earth has revealed, using Freedom of Information requests, that Owen Paterson has never been briefed on climate change by the Met Office, despite a personal offer from their Chief Scientist, Dame Julia Slingo, to brief him. For more details, see today's report by Tom Bawden in the Independent.
2. Today sees the publication of a new report by the government's independent advisers the Committee on Climate Change, which criticizes decisions by the Coalition to cut flood defence spending. It warns that investment in flood defences remains £500m below what is needed to protect households from climate change.
3. Photograph from today’s stunt can be found here.