Liberal Democrats and Ukip unveil manifestos

15th April 2015


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  • Waste ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management

Author

Darren Guy

The Liberal Democrats would create interdepartmental units to coordinate cross-cutting environmental issues such as air quality and resource management, according to the party's manifesto.

The document, launched today, states that a Liberal Democrat government would establish a senior cabinet committee to coordinate work on delivering green growth and fighting climate change.

It would also create an office for environmental responsibility to scrutinise the government's work on meeting environment targets, similar to the way in which the Office for Budget Responsibility examines the work of the Treasury.

Tax revenues from shale gas would be used to fund energy efficiency, community energy, low-carbon innovation and renewable heat, states the manifesto. At the end of shale gas operations, the wells should be offered to geothermal heat developers at no cost, it adds.

The document confirms the party's pledge to enact five green laws covering carbon, homes, nature, transport and waste. The introduction of a nature Act would place the Natural Capital Committee on a statutory footing, while a 25-year plan would be rolled out to improve nature.

Liberal Democrats also say they will undertake a review of national resource efficiency, increase penalties for waste crimes, and introduce regulation to promote design that makes it easier to repair equipment via its resource efficiency and zero waste Britain Act.

A green transport Act would electrify rail routes and require all new buses and taxis to be ultra low emission from 2030, with all cars meeting the standard by 2040. It would also implement a national air quality plan, including a legal requirement for the most polluted towns and cities to introduce low emission zones.

Emission performance standards for existing coal power stations would be introduced through a zero carbon Britain Act to end unabated coal generation by 2025, along with a 2030 decarbonisation target of 50-100g per kWh and full borrowing powers for the Green Investment Bank.

Finally, a green buildings Act would introduce council tax discounts for homeowners who improve the energy efficiency of their home and introduce measures so that social and private rented homes attain at least an energy performance certificate band C rating by 2027.

Ukip's manifesto, meanwhile, outlines the party's plans to repeal the Climate Change Act, which it calls "an Act rooted in EU folly" and claims is doing "untold damage". It would also scrap EU directives on large and medium combustion plants, which it says are an attempt to "close down secure, reliable and economical electricity generation and replace it with expensive, intermittent, unreliable renewables".

The party supports shale gas exploitation, but would tax profits at 50% and invest the income in a sovereign wealth fund. It would scrap all subsidies for renewable energy generation except hydro power, which it claims is the only renewable technology that can deliver electricity at competitive prices.

Ukip also pledges to set up a commission to investigate ways to rejuvenate the coal industry, including deep, opencast and drift mining, discontinue the carbon floor price and seek private funding for new coal plants.

Other proposals outlined in Ukip's manifesto include:

  • Abolition of green taxes and withdrawal from the EU emissions trading system.
  • Local referenda on large-scale developments and permission refused if 5% of electors in a planning authority areas demand it.
  • Scrapping the HS2 high-speed rail project, which it describes as a "flawed vanity scheme".
  • Reopening Manston airport in Kent.

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