Green Party makes resources pledges to tackle climate emergency

In the run up to December’s general election, the Green Party has published its manifesto, unveiling proposals to boost the repair and recycling sectors and develop an effective circular economy.

Speaking in south west London yesterday (19 November), Green Party Co-leaders Jonathan Bartley and Sian Berry, and Deputy Leader Amelia Womack, launched the manifesto – entitled ‘If not now, when?’ – by announcing 10 key pieces of legislation to kickstart the green transformation of the country and tackle the climate emergency by making the UK carbon neutral by 2030.

Green Party manifesto 2019
Green Party Manifesto 2019
These include a Sustainable Economy Bill and the manifesto’s centrepiece, a Green New Deal Bill. Bartley described this as the “most ambitious Green New Deal proposed anywhere in the world”, adding: “Today, we’re proud to put forward a manifesto which moves towards making our whole country carbon neutral by 2030, while delivering social justice across Britain.”

The concept of a Green New Deal has been at the heart of the Green Party’s policies since the idea originated in 2008, and outlines a radical transformation of the economy to support a low-carbon future. The Green Party’s vision includes a pledge to invest £100 billion a year for the next decade to focus on climate action, focusing on renewable energies and a circular economy.

As part of its Green New Deal proposals, the Greens have pledged to ‘rebalance industry’, moving away from the carbon past and towards a renewable future. A circular economy will underpin what the party calls a ‘green industrial revolution’, improving infrastructure to make repair facilities more accessible for all and enabling both individuals and large corporations to recycle close to 100 per cent of the items they use.

Investing £2 billion a year in training and skills (including new apprenticeships), will have a twofold impact – providing new sustainable jobs through the transition to a low carbon economy, which will in turn offer more repair and recycling services to the public.

Other policies include a ban on the production of single-use plastics for use in packaging, looking instead to invest in the research and development of plastic alternatives, and an extension of environmental charging on problematic items – used successfully on single-use plastic bags – to cover plastic bottles, single-use plastics and microplastics.

In line with the proposed deposit return scheme (DRS) outlined in the Conservative Government’s 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy, the Green Party also proposes to extend plastic bottle deposit schemes.

To further encourage repair and reuse on items such as electricals, the Green Party will also require manufacturers to offer ten-year warranties on white goods, ensuring they keep goods operational years after purchase and ban the practice of producing goods with the intention that they will become obsolete in a few years’ time.

A reformed waste strategy will include the implementation of an extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme where manufacturers and retailers are required to pay the full cost of recycling and disposing of the packaging they produce.

Encouraging a shift from models of ownership to usership – for example using car-sharing platforms and neighbourhood libraries for tools and equipment – the Greens aim to promote a sense of community as well as reducing carbon emissions and excessive consumerism.

You can read the Green Party’s manifesto in full on the party’s website.