With the General Election on the horizon, political parties have laid out their plans for addressing climate change and environmental sustainability in their manifestos. Following IEMA’s analysis of the Lib Dem, Tory, Green Party and Labour manifestos, Asim Ali, Public Affairs Officer at IEMA, looks at what Plaid Cymru, the Scottish National Party (SNP), and Reform UK have prioritised in relation to the sustainability agenda.

Plaid Cymru, the Scottish National Party, and Reform UK
Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth, the Scottish National Party leader John Swinney, and Reform UK leader Nigel Farage.

Plaid Cymru:

Plaid Cymru has reaffirmed its dedication to tackling the climate and nature emergencies, recognising them as the most significant threats to humanity. Their manifesto outlines several critical commitments:

Net Zero by 2035: Plaid Cymru aims to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions in Wales by 2035, underscoring the need for collaborative planning to ensure a just transition.

Reversing Biodiversity Decline by 2030: The party is committed to reversing biodiversity decline by 2030, emphasising that Wales must play its part in addressing global environmental challenges. This also echoes IEMA’s policy ask of implementing a robust plan to protect 30% of the land and of the sea for nature’s recovery, by 2030.

Green Jobs: Plaid Cymru advocates for substantial investment in green jobs and new construction methods, ensuring workers in Wales transition to well-paid, highly-skilled jobs rather than being left behind. As the professional body for the environment and sustainability sector, IEMA supports the push to ensure we have the skilled workforce needed to deliver our vital climate and environmental goals. In a similar vein, the party stresses the importance of integrating climate education into the school curriculum to prepare young people for future environmental challenges.

Infrastructure for Flood Prevention: Both the Welsh and UK governments are urged to invest in infrastructure to prevent or mitigate flooding, protecting households from climate impacts.

Tax Increases on Polluting Air Travel: Plaid Cymru proposes increasing Air Passenger Duty and kerosene tax for private jets to curb their climate impact.

National Energy Company: Establishing Ynni Cymru, a national energy company, to ensure Wales has control over its energy resources and can drive the transition to renewable energy. This also aligns with IEMA’s key policy asks of establishing a Green Jobs Plan that sets out how investment in green jobs and skills will be channelled across different economic sectors.

While most of Plaid Cymru's commitments align with IEMA's key policy asks, their manifesto does lack a detailed national circular strategy and does not mention the establishment of a National Environmental Assessment Unit.

Scottish National Party (SNP):

The Scottish National Party (SNP) aims to leverage Scotland’s rich energy resources to create a fairer, greener economy. Key commitments in their manifesto include:

Energy Regulation and Devolution: The SNP demands devolution of powers over energy regulation, pricing, and production to fully harness Scotland’s renewable energy potential.

Investment in Green Economy: The UK Government is called upon to invest at least £28 billion annually in the green economy, ensuring both public and private sectors drive progress towards Net Zero. Again, this echoes IEMA’s policy ask of establishing a green jobs plan as well as pushing to ensure we have the skilled workforce needed to deliver our vital climate and environmental goals.

Carbon Capture and Storage: Unsurprisingly, given the potential local strategic advantages, the SNP emphasises the need for urgent investment in the Acorn Project and Scottish Cluster to advance carbon capture, utilisation, and storage technologies.

Renewable Energy Expansion: the party calls for modernisation of the Contracts for Difference scheme as a crucial factor for the stable deployment of Scotland’s renewable energy projects.

Sustainable Transition for North Sea Workers: the party would support workers in the North East with a £500 million North-East Transition Fund to facilitate a just transition as the region moves away from oil and gas. This would also introduce more green jobs in the region.

Hydrogen and Renewable Exports: The SNP would promote Scotland’s potential as a major hydrogen exporter and push for infrastructure to connect Scotland with continental Europe. Meanwhile, the party firmly opposes new nuclear power plants in Scotland, advocating instead for significant growth in renewables, storage, hydrogen, and carbon capture.

The SNP’s climate and environmental commitments mostly align with IEMA’s key policy asks. They are dedicated to the 30by30 initiative and emphasise investing in the green economy and supporting North Sea workers, which aligns with the call for a Green Jobs Plan. Although their manifesto does not specifically mention a circular economy strategy, their investment strategies could potentially encompass circular economy principles.

Reform UK:

Reform UK takes a different approach to environmental policy:

Scrapping Net Zero Targets: The party proposes eliminating Net Zero targets and related subsidies, arguing that they are economically burdensome and unachievable.

Renewable Energy Subsidies: Reform UK aims to scrap the annual £10 billion in renewable energy subsidies, advocating instead for equivalent taxes on renewables.

Domestic Energy Production: Licenses for North Sea gas and oil would be fast tracked, and shale gas licenses would be granted to boost domestic energy production and reduce reliance on imports. New technologies such as Small Modular Reactors for nuclear energy, ethical UK lithium mining for electric batteries, tidal power and clean coal mining would all be promoted.

Tree Planting and Recycling: Despite their stance on Net Zero, Reform UK supports environmental measures like increased tree planting, recycling, and reducing single-use plastics.

While Reform UK focuses on recycling, tree planting, and reducing single-use plastics, their manifesto lacks commitments to green job creation and the 30by30 goal as well as other IEMA key policy asks. It also fails to address onshore wind development and grid connections and does not mention the need for a National Environmental Assessment Unit.

Photo of Asim 2
Asim Ali

Public Affairs Officer

Asim joined IEMA in May 2022 as a Public Affairs Officer. Prior to joining IEMA, Asim worked in a variety of roles for three Members of Parliament and interned for the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. He also holds an MA in Human Rights, Globalisation & Justice


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.