Environment Front and Centre in the manifesto
By Keith Melton
The Liberal Democrat manifesto has been published today (20th November 2019) and if you would like to read all of it in detail all you need to do is go here >>> Lib Dem Manifesto and download a copy of the manifesto to read at your leisure.
We, Green Liberal Democrats, consider ourselves to be the environmental conscience of the party, so our website is devoted to things environmental. We thought, therefore, that it would be a good place to promote just the environmental bit of the manifesto for you to have a closer look in detail. So, if the environment is your "thing", you will find our plans here to tackle the environmental crises that we face.
You will also find - on other pages of our website - a growing list of Green Heroes (our candidates specialising in environmental change management) - those people it would be great to have in the House of Commons pushing forward the policies you will find below. Click the link here to get to see our Green Heroes >>>> https://greenlibdems.org.uk/en/page/green-heroes
Environmental Protection Stronger in Europe
Here is the Environmental section of our Manifesto...
Our Plan for a Green Society and a Green Economy
The UK should be leading the world in tackling the climate emergency. We are the
first generation to know we are destroying the environment, and the last generation
with a chance to do something about it before it is too late. There is no Planet B. If
we fail to act, millions of people - at home and abroad - will sufer the impacts of
floods, storms and heatwaves, rising food prices and the spread of diseases; the
global fnancial system will be destabilised, poor countries could collapse and the
number of refugees will soar.
The Conservatives have shown themselves unfit to lead in response to this historic
challenge. They have repeatedly fouted EU limits on air pollution and scrapped
energy efficiency schemes that would reduce energy bills and end the scourge of
fuel poverty. They have cut support for renewable energy while trying to force
fracking on communities that don't want it. They are not on track to meet the UK's
climate targets and are dragging their feet on reducing the use of plastics. They
promised to restore the natural environment, but have presided over declines in
many species of wildlife, and repeatedly failed to meet air and water quality goals.
Meanwhile, Labour's policies are a distraction from meaningful action on the
environment. They want to spend billions to renationalise the companies running
the electricity grid, the water industry and the railways. But this would not only be
enormously disruptive and ruinously costly; it would be pointless, as in reality,
ambitious environmental and consumer aims can be achieved through tougher
regulation. A socialist planned economy is no way to tackle the environmental crisis.
The failures of Conservatives and Labour are not only morally indefensible but
economically illiterate. Climate change and the collapse of natural systems are huge
crises but they also represent a massive opportunity to create a different future,
where people breathe clean air, drink clean water and use clean energy, where
communities and industries live in harmony with nature, not at its expense.
We need a new government with the vision and the will to seize that opportunity.
Liberal Democrats offer a new plan to innovate our way out of crisis. To mobilise
every community in the country, and the resources of both the public and private
sector to achieve it. To turn the birthplace of the industrial revolution into the home
of the new Green Revolution.
The Liberal Democrats have the thought-through, deliverable plan for that new
Green Future - in place of the Dutch auction of fantasy dates for Britain to achieve
net zero greenhouse gas emissions offered by the other parties. We will deliver a
ten-year emergency programme to cut emissions substantially straight away, and
phase out emissions from the remaining hard-to-treat sectors by 2045 at the latest.
Our first priorities in the next parliament will be:
● An emergency programme to insulate all Britain's homes by 2030, cutting
emissions and fuel bills and ending fuel poverty.
● Investing in renewable power so that at least 80 per cent of UK electricity is
generated from renewables by 2030 - and banning fracking for good.
● Protecting nature and the countryside, tackling biodiversity loss and
planting 60 million trees a year to absorb carbon, protect wildlife and
● Investing in public transport, electrifying Britain's railways and ensuring
that all new cars are electric by 2030.
Climate Action Now
The climate emergency can only be tackled efectively by ensuring that every
relevant decision taken by national government, local councils, businesses,
investors, communities and households makes progress towards the net zero
objective. We will set a new legally binding target to reduce net greenhouse gas
emissions to zero by 2045 at the latest, and implement a comprehensive climate
action plan, cutting emissions across all sectors. To realise these goals, we will:
● Require all companies registered in the UK and listed on UK stock exchanges to
set targets consistent with the Paris Agreement on climate change and to report
on their implementation; and establish a general corporate duty of care for the
environment and human rights (also see Better Business section p.21).
● Regulate fnancial services to encourage green investments, including requiring
pension funds and managers to show that their portfolio investments are
consistent with the Paris Agreement, and creating new powers for regulators to
act if banks and other investors are not managing climate risks properly.
● Establish a Department for Climate Change and Natural Resources, appoint a
cabinet-level Chief Secretary for Sustainability in the Treasury to coordinate
government-wide action to make the economy sustainable resource-efficient and
zero-carbon, and require every government agency to account for its
contribution towards meeting climate targets.
● Establish UK and local Citizens' Climate Assemblies to engage the public in
tackling the climate emergency.
● Create a statutory duty on all local authorities to produce a Zero Carbon Strategy,
including plans for local energy, transport and land use, and devolve powers and
funding to enable every council to implement it.
● Guarantee an Office of Environmental Protection that is fully independent of
government, and possesses powers and resources to enforce compliance with
climate and environmental targets.
● Increase government expenditure on climate and environmental objectives,
reaching at least fve per cent of the total within fve years.
● Support investment and innovation in zero-carbon and resource-efficient
infrastructure and technologies by creating a new Green Investment Bank and
increasing funding for Innovate UK and new Catapult innovation and technology
centres on farming and land use and on carbon dioxide removal.
● Implement the UK's G7 pledge to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2025, and provide
Just Transition funding for areas and communities negatively afected by the
transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Thanks to Liberal Democrat policies in government, the UK has made major strides
in cutting emissions from power generation; wind power is now the cheapest form
of electricity generation. Now we can go further: we aim to decarbonise the power
sector completely, supporting renewables and household and community energy to
create jobs and cut fossil fuel imports. We will:
● Accelerate the deployment of renewable power, providing more funding,
removing the Conservatives' restrictions on solar and wind and building more
interconnectors to guarantee security of supply; we aim to reach at least 80 per
cent renewable electricity in the UK by 2030.
● Expand community and decentralised energy, support councils to develop local
electricity generation and require all new homes to be fitted with solar panels.
● Ban fracking because of its negative impacts on climate change, the energy mix
and the local environment.
● Support investment and innovation in cutting-edge energy technologies,
including tidal and wave power, energy storage, demand response, smart grids
● Provide an additional £12 billion over fve years to support these commitments,
and ensure that the National Infrastructure Commission, National Grid, the
energy regulator Ofgem, and the Crown Estate work together to deliver our net
zero climate objective.
Warm Homes and Lower Energy Bills
Everyone should be able to afford to heat their home so that it is warm enough for
them to live in. However, an estimated 2.5 million households in England live in fuel
poverty, where they cannot aford to heat their homes to a decent standard partly
due to poor insulation and heat loss - contributing to climate change and causing
ill-health and early deaths. We will implement an emergency ten-year programme to
reduce energy consumption from all buildings, cutting emissions and energy bills
and ending fuel poverty - and generating employment - supported by investing
over £6 billion a year on home insulation and zero-carbon heating by the fifth year
of the Parliament. We will:
● Cut energy bills, end fuel poverty by 2025 and reduce emissions from buildings,
including by providing free retrofts for low-income homes, piloting a new
subsidised Energy-Saving Homes scheme, graduating Stamp Duty Land Tax by
the energy rating of the property and reducing VAT on home insulation.
● Empower councils to develop community energy-saving projects, including
delivering housing energy efficiency improvements street by street, which cuts
● Require all new homes and non-domestic buildings to be built to a zero-carbon
standard (where as much energy is generated on-site, through renewable
sources, as is used), by 2021, rising to a more ambitious ('Passivhaus') standard
● Increase minimum energy efficiency standards for privately rented properties
and remove the cost cap on improvements.
● Adopt a Zero-Carbon Heat Strategy, including reforming the Renewable Heat
Incentive, requiring the phased installation of heat pumps in homes and
businesses of the gas grid, and piloting projects to determine the best future mix
of zero-carbon heating solutions.
Green Industry, Green Jobs and Green Products
Given the right support, British businesses have the chance to be world leaders in
green technology. UK low-carbon businesses already have a combined turnover of
£80 billion and directly employ 400,000 people, and under our proposals these will
grow. We will provide support for innovation to cut energy and fossil fuel use in
industrial processes - reducing emissions, cutting dependence on fossil fuel
imports and generating jobs and prosperity. We will:
● Reduce emissions from industrial processes by supporting carbon capture and
storage and new low-carbon processes for cement and steel production.
● Provide more advice to companies on cutting emissions, support the
development of regional industrial clusters for zero-carbon innovation and
increase the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund.
● Expand the market for green products and services with steadily higher green
criteria in public procurement policy.
● End support from UK Export Finance for fossil fuel-related activities, and press for
higher environmental standards for export credit agencies throughout the OECD.
The successful economies of the future will be those which adopt 'circular economy'
techniques, cutting resource use, waste and pollution by maximising recovery,
reuse, recycling and remanufacturing. This will cut costs for consumers and
businesses, protect the environment and create new jobs and enterprises. We will
introduce a Zero-Waste and Resource Efficiency Act to ensure that the UK moves
towards a circular economy, including:
● Banning non-recyclable single-use plastics and replace them with affordable
alternatives, aiming for their complete elimination within three years, as a frst
step towards ending the 'throwaway society' culture and an ambition to end
plastic waste exports by 2030.
● Beneftting consumers through better product design for repairability, reuse and
recycling, including extending the forthcoming EU 'right to repair' legislation for
consumer goods, so helping small repair businesses and community groups
combat 'planned obsolescence'.
● Introducing legally binding targets for reducing the consumption of key natural
resources and other incentives for businesses to improve resource efciency.
● Extending deposit return schemes for all food and drink bottles and containers,
working with the devolved administrations to ensure consistency across the UK.
● Establishing a statutory waste recycling target of 70 per cent in England, extend
separate food waste collections to at least 90 per cent of homes by 2024, and
strengthen incentives to reduce packaging and reduce waste sent to landfill and
Saving Nature and the Countryside
A healthy natural environment, where people breathe clean air, drink clean water
and enjoy the beauty of the natural world, lies at the heart of the society and the
economy Liberal Democrats want to create. Yet nature is under threat:
unsustainable farming practices are depleting the soil and, together with air and
water pollution, contributing to a rapid decline in the numbers of insects, birds and
other animals. One in seven UK species are at risk of extinction.
We will protect the natural environment and reverse biodiversity loss at the same
time as combatting climate change. We will support farmers to protect and restore
the natural environment alongside their critical roles in producing food, providing
employment and promoting tourism, leisure and health and wellbeing. We will:
● Introduce a Nature Act to restore the natural environment through setting legally
binding near-term and long-term targets for improving water, air, soil and
biodiversity, and supported by funding streams of at least £18 billion over fve
● Combat climate change, and beneft nature and people by coordinating the
planting of 60 million trees a year and introducing requirements for the greater
use of sustainably harvested wood in construction.
● Invest in large scale restoration of peatlands, heathland, native woodlands,
saltmarshes, wetlands and coastal waters, helping to absorb carbon, protect
against foods, improve water quality and protect habitats, including through
piloting 'rewilding' approaches.
● Reduce basic agricultural support payments to the larger recipients and redeploy
the savings to support the public goods that come from effective land
management, including restoring nature and protecting the countryside,
preventing flooding and combatting climate change through measures to increase
soil carbon and expand native woodland.
● Introduce a National Food Strategy, including the use of public procurement
policy, to promote the production and consumption of healthy, sustainable and
afordable food and cut down on food waste.
● Support producers by broadening the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator
and supporting them with access to markets.
● Signifcantly increase the amount of accessible green space, including protecting
up to a million acres, completing the coastal path, exploring a 'right to roam' for
waterways and creating a new designation of National Nature Parks.
● Give the Local Green Space designation the force of law.
● Protect and restore England's lakes, rivers and wetlands, including through
reform of water management and higher water efciency standards, and
establish a 'blue belt' of marine protected areas covering at least 50 per cent of
UK waters by 2030, in partnership with UK overseas territories.
● Create a new 'British Overseas Ecosystems Fund' for large-scale environmental
restoration projects in the UK Overseas Territories and sovereign bases, home to
94 per cent of our unique wildlife.
● Establish a £5 billion fund for food prevention and climate adaptation over the
course of the parliament to improve food defences, and introduce high
standards for food resilience for buildings and infrastructure in food risk areas.
● Ensure that sustainability lies at the heart of fsheries policy, rebuilding depleted
fish stocks to achieve their former abundance. Fishers, scientists and
conservationists should all be at the centre of a decentralised and regionalised
fisheries management system. Immigration policy should also be fexible enough
to ensure that both the catching and processing sectors have access to the
labour they need.
● Increase the budget for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural
Afairs, ensuring that agencies such as Natural England and the Environment
Agency are properly funded.
Britain's transport systems are broken. Commuting by rail is expensive, unreliable
and unpleasant, and away from the major commuter routes, buses, trams and
trains are so infrequent and expensive that cars are essentially made a necessity.
This in turn has made air pollution - mostly caused by cars - one of the biggest
causes of preventable illness in the UK, causing at least 40,000 premature deaths a
year and costing the NHS £15 billion. And surface transport is now the largest
source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, with almost no progress in reducing
them since 1990. The UK's share of international aviation and shipping emissions
has risen by almost 80 per cent since 1990. Liberal Democrats will meet this
● Investing in public transport, buses, trams and railways to enable people to travel
more easily while reducing their impact on the environment.
● Placing a far higher priority on encouraging walking and cycling - the healthiest
forms of transport.
● Accelerating the transition to ultra-low-emission transport - cars, buses and
trains - through taxation, subsidy and regulation.
Together these steps will tackle the clean air crisis, meet the challenge of climate
change, improve people's health, stimulate local and regional prosperity and
develop British zero-carbon industries, with benefts for jobs, growth and exports.
Clean and Green
To achieve our net-zero climate target by 2045, we aim to reduce emissions from
surface transport to near zero; at the same time the transition to electric vehicles
and from private to public transport will drastically cut air pollution. Emissions from
the UK's share of international aviation are much more difcult to tackle; we need to
accelerate the development of new technologies and cut demand for fying,
particularly from the 15 per cent of individuals who take 70 per cent of fights. We
● Accelerate the rapid take-up of electric vehicles by reforming vehicle taxation,
cutting VAT on EVs to 5 per cent and increasing the rate of installation of charging
points, including residential on-street points and ultra-fast chargers at service
stations. We will ensure that, by 2030, every new car and small van sold is electric.
● Pass a Clean Air Act, based on World Health Organisation guidelines, enforced by
a new Air Quality Agency. The Act will enshrine the legal right to unpolluted air
wherever you live.
● Extend Ultra-Low Emission Zones to ten more towns and cities in England and
ensure that all private hire vehicles and new buses licensed to operate in urban
areas are ultra-low-emission or zero-emission vehicles by 2025; we will provide
£2 billion to support this transformation.
● Shift more freight from road to rail, including electrifying lines leading from major
ports as an urgent priority, and amend the current HGV road user levy to take
account of carbon emissions.
● Support innovation in zero-emission technologies, including batteries and
hydrogen fuel cells, supplementing government funding with a new Clean Air
Fund from industry.
● Reduce the climate impact of flying by reforming the taxation of international
fights to focus on those who fy the most, while reducing costs for those who
take one or two international return flights per year, placing a moratorium on the
development of new runways (net) in the UK, opposing any expansion of
Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted and any new airport in the Thames Estuary, and
introducing a zero-carbon fuels blending requirement for domestic flights.
Reducing the Need for Car Travel
Liberal Democrats will invest in public transport, improving its reliability and
afordability, reform the planning systems to reduce the need to travel and promote
cycling and walking. We will:
● Give new powers to local authorities and communities to improve transport in
their areas, including the ability to introduce network-wide ticketing, like in
● Implement, in cooperation with local authorities, light rail schemes for trams and
tram-trains where these are appropriate solutions to public transport
● Restore bus routes and add new routes where there is local need; we will provide
£4.5 billion over five years for this programme.
● Introduce a nationwide strategy to promote walking and cycling, including the
creation of dedicated safe cycling lanes, increasing spending per head five-fold to
reach 10 per cent of the transport budget.
● Build on the successful Local Sustainable Transport Fund established by the
Liberal Democrats when in government, and workplace travel plans, to reduce
the number of cars - particularly single-occupancy cars - used for commuting,
and encourage the development of car-sharing schemes and car clubs and
autonomous vehicles for public use.
● Amend planning rules to promote sustainable transport and land use.
Fixing Britain's Railways
There is enormous scope to improve Britain's railways, providing reliable and
affordable train services and cutting emissions. The Tories' and Labour's ideological
obsessions - the former with privatisation, the latter with nationalisation - only
serve to get in the way of making real improvements through investment and
regulation. We will improve the railways, reform the franchising system and improve
services to customers. We will:
● Freeze rail fares for commuters and season ticket holders for a parliament, while
we fix our railways.
● Extend Britain's rail network, improve stations, reopen smaller stations and
restore twin-track lines to major routes.
● Convert the rail network to ultra-low-emission technology (electric or hydrogen)
by 2035, and provide funding for light rail and trams.
● Support High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, East-West Rail and Crossrail 2,
but ensure far tighter fnancial controls and increased accountability to ensure
that these projects are value for money, and address problems with
implementation to ensure that HS2 opens as early as possible to meet our
decarbonisation goals while minimising the destruction of precious UK habitats
● Start a revolution in rail franchising by opening up the bidding process to public
sector companies, local or combined authorities, not-for-profts and mutuals -
which have the potential to deliver much better services than private operators.
● Build into new rail franchise agreements a stronger focus on customers,
including investment in new stations, lines and modern trains.
● Create a new Railways Agency to oversee the operations of the railway network,
removing the Department for Transport from day-to-day decision-making.
● Be far more proactive in sanctioning and ultimately sacking train operators if they
fail to provide a high-quality public service to their customers.
● Improve the experience of people who rely on the railways for work by investing
in commuter routes and the integration of rail, bus and cycle routes.
● Fix the broken fares and ticketing system so that it provides better value for
● Improve disabled access to public transport via the Access for All programme.
Liberal Democrats believe that all possible steps should be taken to promote animal
welfare and prevent animal sufering, with better protection for animals, and full
regard for animal welfare. We will:
● Enshrine the principle of animal sentience in UK law to ensure that due regard is
paid to animal welfare in policymaking.
● Introduce stronger penalties for animal cruelty offences, increasing the maximum
sentencing from six months to five years, and ensure that the National Wildlife
Crime Unit is properly funded.
● Ban the sale of real fur, end the use of primates as pets, clamp down on illegal
pet imports and establish an independent regulatory body for horse welfare to
prevent the abuse and avoidable deaths of racehorses.
● Improve standards of animal health and welfare in agriculture, including a ban on
caged hens, and promote the responsible use of antimicrobials.
● Develop safe, efective, humane, and evidence-based ways of controlling bovine
TB, including by investing to produce workable vaccines.
● Minimise the use of animals in scientific experimentation, including by funding
research into alternatives.
● Work within the EU to ensure that future trade agreements require high
environmental and animal welfare standards, and legislate to ban the importing
of hunting trophies where the hunting does not contribute to environmental