Conservatives overlook resource policy in manifesto
The Conservative Party’s manifesto for 2015 makes no mention of how a Conservative-led government would move forward on waste, resource or sustainability policy, despite the party claiming that it was the ‘greenest government ever’.
In its manifesto 'Strong Leadership, A Clear Economic Plan, A Brighter, More Secure Future', the party claims that, during its four years in power with the Liberal Democrat Party, it has been the ‘greenest government ever’ (even though it announced it was ‘stepping back’ from some areas of waste policy in 2013).
According to the document, this accolade has largely been earned by its work on energy, such as ‘setting up the world’s first Green Investment Bank, signing a deal to build the first new nuclear plant in a generation, trebling renewable energy generation to 19 per cent, bringing energy-efficiency measures to over one million homes, and committing £1 billion for carbon capture and storage’.
It adds: ‘But the job is only half done. We need a Conservative Government to see through this long-term plan and secure clean but affordable energy supplies for generations to come. This means a significant expansion in new nuclear and gas; backing good-value green energy; and pushing for more new investment in UK energy sources’.
The party goes on to say that it continue to ‘push for a strong global climate deal later this year – one that keeps the goal of limiting global warming to two-degrees firmly in reach; support the UK Climate Change Act; and cut emissions as cost-effectively as possible, and will not support additional distorting and expensive power sector targets’.
Specifically, the manifesto outlines that, if the Conservatives were to gain power after the general election next month, they would:
- review the case for higher Fixed Penalty Notices for littering and allow councils to tackle small-scale fly-tipping through Fixed Penalties ‘rather than costly prosecutions’;
- provide start-up funding for ‘promising new renewable technologies and research’, but will only give ‘significant support’ to those that ‘clearly represent value for money’;
- end the use of unabated coal for power generation;
- continue to support development of North Sea oil and gas;
- end any new public subsidy for onshore wind farms and change the law so that local people have the final say on wind farm applications;
- spend £3 billion from the Common Agricultural Policy to 'enhance England's countryside', such as by cleaning up rivers and lakes;
- support 'low-cost measures on energy efficiency', with the goal of insulating a 'million more homes over the next five years';
- support the 'safe development of shale gas', with local communities sharing the proceeds through ‘generous community benefit packages';
- establish a new 'Blue Belt', to safeguard the marine habitats of the 'UK's 14 overseas territories, which will be subject to local support and environmental need'; and
- implement a 25-year plan to restore the UK's biodiversity, ensuring that both 'public and private investment is directed where [it is] needed most'.
‘More of the same’
Speaking after the launch of manifesto, environmental campaigning body Friends of the Earth said: “The Conservatives have a poor record on the environment in office. Their manifesto shows they’re offering more of the same.”
The Chief Executive of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA), Charlotte Morton, commented: “The Conservative manifesto is lukewarm at best on support for the green economy.
“Anaerobic digestion has enormous potential to support rural employment, improve our energy security and reduce carbon emissions. Our industry grew by 500 per cent in the last parliament – developers and investors are ready to continue that growth, but need clear support for renewable energy and resource management to do so.”
Read The Conservative Party's manifesto in full