Helena Horton

The Guardian

Helena Horton joined the Guardian as an environment reporter in February, and has already had a series of impactful scoops, from a leaked version of the government’s food strategy to breaking the news that England had officially entered a drought this summer and exposing the small but influential group of Tories behind the climate-sceptic Net Zero Scrutiny Group.

Her energy, enthusiasm for the environment beat, strong news judgment and pacy writing show through in her reporting, which reaches wide audiences and sets the agenda for her competitors. After first reporting that campaigners were concerned the government was going to water down their recommendations in its food strategy, Horton then obtained a leaked copy of the white paper which confirmed campaigners’ fears. The paper, first published in the Guardian, included virtually no new measures to tackle the soaring cost of food, childhood hunger, obesity or the climate emergency, and was criticised as “worse than half-baked” by Greenpeace. In the following days, the government’s food tsar and author of two reports that fed into the white paper told Horton that the government’s response showed no vision and was “not a strategy”. Horton was also the first reporter to break the news that drought had been declared across England, following a prolonged dry spell over the summer. With climate scientists, farmers and the public increasingly sounding the concern over arid conditions and reduced water supplies, and water companies beginning to introduce hosepipe bans, Horton was once again ahead of the curve and on top of every twist and turn of this fast-moving, important national story. Horton used her extensive contacts and rigorous reporting to get to the bottom of how the climate-sceptic Net Zero Scrutiny Group was set up, and who was behind it. Although small in number, she demonstrated how the group was dragging the climate into a new culture war by fighting the government’s net zero plans, and exposed its links with the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which publishes material questioning the scientific consensus on the climate crisis. Her reporting was credited with helping to inspire the formation of the Net Zero Support Group of Tory MPs.