Sustainability

Greens would spend extra £4bn on recycling

The Green Party has released its manifesto for 2015, outlining that it would spend an extra £4 billion a year on recycling to ‘do away with damaging incineration and landfill’.

Green Party manifesto 2015
The Green Party's new billboard for the 2015 campaign

According to ‘For the Common Good: General Election Manifesto 2015’, the Green Party would aim to reduce the amount of waste produced and be ‘more careful about how we dispose of it’, with the aim of moving ‘towards a jobs-rich circular economy with as much waste minimisation as possible’.

This would be achieved by:

  • increasing national spending on recycling and waste disposal by an extra £4 billion a year (roughly 50 per cent more than currently), to ‘do away with damaging incineration and landfill’;
  • banning food waste and other organic waste from landfill (as Scotland is set to do);
  • aiming to recycle 70 per cent of domestic waste by 2020;
  • using taxation and regulation to ‘ensure that products and packaging are designed with a view to what happens to them when they stop being useful’;
  • reducing packaging and making products easily repairable and designing out waste; and
  • ensuring that focus is on reducing, reusing first, with recycling as a last resort.

Climate change and renewable energy

As well as reducing waste, the Green Party will focus on limiting the impacts of climate change, and has revealed that it would invest up to £80 billion over the next Parliament in renewable generation and energy efficiency.

This would cover a range of policies, including:

  • giving local authorities and the Environment Agency an extra £1 billion a year for flood defences and protection from heat waves;
  • setting in law a decarbonisation target of 25-50 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour by 2030;
  • banning all UK fracking operations;
  • ending fossil fuel industry tax breaks;
  • giving the Green Investment Bank full borrowing powers;
  • phasing out fossil-fuel based energy generation, including the closure of all coal-fired power stations by 2023;
  • phasing out nuclear power;
  • investing £35 billion in renewable energy and the National Grid;
  • reducing planning constraints on wind and solar energy;
  • setting a target for at least 42 gigawatts of community power by 2020;
  • using carbon taxes (based on the present system) to fund investment in energy-efficiency measures; and
  • providing a free nationwide retrofit insulation programme, focusing on areas where fuel poverty is most serious.

Investing in a greener future’

Releasing the manifesto this morning (14 April), Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, said: “Our manifesto is an unashamedly bold plan to create a more equal, more democratic society while healing the planet from the effects of an unstable, unsustainable economy.

“This manifesto presents the Green Party’s genuine alternative to our tired, business-as-usual politics. We desperately need a more equal society and the policies we announce today pave the way towards a brighter, fairer future for all.”

Caroline Lucas, former Leader of the Green Party and current MP for Brighton Pavilion, added: “We urgently need real leadership when it comes to tackling climate change – and that’s what our manifesto delivers.

“From ending the scandal of cold homes to investing in a public transport system that puts the public first, our plans will make a positive difference to people’s lives, create new jobs and help protect our environment.

“We have put investing in a greener future at the heart of our manifesto and only Green MPs will demand Parliament delivers change that reflects the scale of the climate problem.”

Speaking of the manifesto, environmental campaigning body Friends of the Earth said that it "stands out from the others as a plan not just to do the right things on the environment, but to stop doing the wrong things as well", and lauded the commitments that could "end the age of fossil fuels in the way necessary for our generation to avert runaway climate change".

Read the full ‘For the Common Good: General Election Manifesto 2015’.

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