Conservationist Chris Packham has slammed the BBC for its ‘irresponsible’ coverage of climate change during the Tory leadership debate.
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss answered questions from journalist Sophie Raworth during the televised event, which aired on the Beeb on Monday night.
But while the two hopeful prime ministers discussed subjects such as ‘the cost of the next potential PM’s clothing’, campaigners have complained little time was devoted to the pressing issue of the environment.
The only time climate change came up during the debate was when Sunak, 42, and Truss, 47, were asked what three things should people change in their lives to become more eco-friendly.
Chris, who fronted CBBC nature series The Really Wild Show, was among many activists who signed a letter to the Line of Duty broadcaster, calling it ‘unacceptable’ to frame the climate crisis as an issue solely for individuals, not for government, to tackle.
Failing to question the two candidates to be the next prime minister on their policy positions on the issue, coming just after the UK experienced record temperatures and widespread fires, was ‘far below the standards we would expect from the BBC’, the letter said.
It calls for the network to improve its coverage of the climate crisis as it covers the leadership race over the next few weeks, and for a guarantee that in future election debates climate change will be treated as an issue of governmental, not just personal, responsibility.
Greenpeace UK, WWF, Christian Aid and the Climate Coalition also signed the letter.
In response, a BBC spokesperson said: ‘We agree that climate change is one of the most serious challenges facing the next prime minister and it is a subject BBC News covers comprehensively.
‘This debate was designed to interrogate the candidates about their policy differences, their character, and the impact their premiership would have on the general public’s lives, and as such included a question specifically about climate change, couched in the actions we can all take to mitigate its effects.
‘We will continue to cover the leadership contest and question the candidates on their policies, including on climate change.’