UKIP would abolish WRAP
The UK Independence Party (UKIP) has said it would abolish the ‘unnecessary quango’ of the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) (which it incorrectly refers to as a quango (it is a registered charity, and claims is called the Waste Resource Action Programme) in a bid to ‘cut the cost of Westminster’ by £15.5 million.
Its controversial manifesto, ‘Believe in Britain’, states that as well as abolishing WRAP, the party would also abolish the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) (which it incorrectly refers to as the Department for Energy and Climate Change) as its ‘essential powers and functions can be merged into other departments’, and 'reinstate weekly bin collections where local communities have lost them and want them reinstated'.
Focusing on energy, the party also claims that The Climate Change Act – which was brought in in 2008 to limit the UK’s emissions of greenhouse gases through legally binding targets – is ‘doing untold damage’ as it is ‘rooted in EU folly, drives up costs, undermines competitiveness and hits jobs and growth’.
As such, UKIP has said that it would abolish this act and the Large Combustion Plant Directive and stop the EU’s planned Medium Combustion Plant Directive, as they ‘attempt to close down secure, reliable and economical electricity generation and replace it with expensive, intermittent, unreliable renewables’.
UKIP would ‘rejuvenate the coal industry’
Unlike their political opponents (such as the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party), UKIP has not voiced support for renewable energy, stating instead that it believes that the only renewable energy technology that is currently affordable is hydropower. Consequently, it would ‘withdraw taxpayer and consumer subsidies for new wind turbines and solar photovoltaic arrays’ (though it would ‘respect existing contractual arrangements’) and ‘rejuvenate the coal industry’.
The manifesto reads: ‘To deliver secure, affordable energy supplies, we support a diverse energy market based on coal, nuclear, shale gas, conventional gas, oil, solar and hydro, as well as other renewables where these can be delivered at competitive prices…
‘The British coal industry once employed one million miners. Now, all three remaining deep coal mines in Britain are set to close by 2016, at a cost of 2,000 jobs, despite having many years of productive life left and regardless of our continuing need for coal... If we are to have energy security and cheap, plentiful, reliable sources of energy, coal must be part of the solution.'
Bearing this in mind, UKIP will:
- set up a commission to investigate ways to ‘assist and rejuvenate the coal industry’;
- seek to secure the ‘survival and expansion of our indigenous coal industry in the form of deep, opencast and drift mining’;
- drop all subsidies for wind and solar power, to ‘ensure a level playing field for coal’;
- discontinue the carbon floor tax (on the basis that production for coal fired power stations is combined with carbon capture and storage);
- halt the decline of coal power stations and seek private funding to develop new, efficient plants;
- abolish green taxes and levies and withdraw from the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, ‘reducing fuel bills and enhancing industrial competitiveness at a stroke’; and
- allow traders to sell in whatever quantities or measures they like.
Although the manifesto doesn’t touch on resource policy specifically, it does state that it would seek to exempt foodbanks and charity shops from charges imposed by local authorities to dispose of unwanted food waste and other goods, as they are ‘not “businesses” in the sense most us understand’ and therefore ‘should not be expected to pay fees for waste disposal’.
UKIP would also ‘train and fund the cost of 800 advisers to work in 800 foodbanks, so the poorest in our society have free and easy access to timely help in their hour of need’.
‘UKIP is different’
In the foreword to the manifesto, UKIP Leader Nigel Farage writes: ‘Political party manifestos are usually filled with arbitrary, over-ambitious targets and pledges to some special interest group here or there. UKIP is different….
‘If you believe in these things and that in this year, the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, you believe we should seize the opportunity for real change in our politics; rebalance power from large corporations and big government institutions and put it back into the hands of the people of this country, then there really is only one choice.’
'UKIP would be dangerous in government'
Speaking of the UKIP manifesto, environmental campaigning body Friends of the Earth said that "UKIP is an anti-environment party determinedly ignoring the overwhelming evidence of climate change", adding that "UKIP would be dangerous in government".
Ray Georgeson, Chief Executive of the Resource Association - the trade association for the recycling and reprocessing industries and their supply chain - also commented, saying: "UKIP have confirmed themselves as the anti-environment party with their commitments to abolish the Climate Change Act and returning to coal-fired power...
"As for the abolition of WRAP, they seem to have missed the fact that WRAP is not actually a formal agency of government. They may well wish to take away its government funding, but they don’t have the power to abolish it. All in all, it’s a predictable package that holds no surprises. To say it would be bad for the environment and the economy would be an understatement."
Read UKIP’s controversial manifesto ‘Believe in Britain’.