Tory environmental policy: what the Conservative manifesto says

The Conservatives unveiled their manifesto this Tuesday and, as expected, the environment is presented as a key policy area.

Below is the party's position on climate change and broader environmental concerns.

Climate Change and Energy
With urgent action needed to combat climate change, and with our energy supplies increasingly insecure and dependent on imports, it's time to rethink the way we supply and consume energy in Britain.

A Conservative government will take immediate action to give Britain leadership in a low carbon world. We will cut carbon emissions and promote low carbon energy production. We will safeguard our energy security and make it easier for families to go green.

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world, but it provides us with opportunities too.

To cut emissions and encourage new low carbon energy production, we will:
·
  • Introduce an Emissions Performance Standard to set a legal limit on the emissions from power stations;

  • Deliver a 10 per cent cut in central government carbon emissions within 12 months of coming to office;

  • Create four carbon capture and storage equipped power plants;

  • Deliver an offshore electricity grid and establish at least two Marine Energy Parks;

  • Allow communities that host renewable energy projects like wind farms to keep the additional business rates they generate for six years; and,

  • Provide incentives for smaller-scale energy generation.

  • Britain needs a clear, consistent and stable energy policy that safeguards our energy security. We will take immediate action to secure the UK's energy supplies, including:
  • Putting in place supply guarantees in the gas and electricity markets - ensuring that sufficient electricity generating capacity is maintained and setting an obligation on gas suppliers to ensure that supplies are in place throughout the year;

  • Reforming the Climate Change Levy to provide a floor price for carbon, delivering the right climate for investment;

  • Transforming electricity networks with 'smart grid' and 'smart meter' technology; and,

  • Clearing the way for new nuclear power stations - provided they receive no public subsidy.

  • A Conservative government will make it easier for families to go green, whilst taking action to reduce energy bills. We will:
  • Create a 'Green Deal', giving every home up to £6,500 worth of energy improvement measures - paid for out of the savings made on fuel bills;

  • Ensure that every energy bill provides information on how to move to the cheapest tariff offered by their supplier and how their energy usage compares to similar households; and
  • Reform the Post Office Card Account to give up to 4 million people access to lower tariffs.


  • Environment
    A Conservative Government will make Britain greener by tackling climate change and protecting and enhancing our environment.

    Quality of life and environmental issues must be at the heart of politics - which is why we have pledged to improve Britain's environment by working towards zero waste, providing incentives to recycle, encouraging sustainable water management, and taking action to help our wildlife at home and internationally.

    Britain is struggling to cope with mountains of waste. We will introduce a new approach, one which minimises waste and promotes recycling.

    A Conservative government will:
  • Introduce a Responsibility Deal on waste - a voluntary arrangement among producers to cut back on the production of waste and improve its disposal; and

  • Put a floor under landfill tax until 2020 to give businesses long term certainty to invest in new forms of waste disposal and we will encourage councils to adopt a scheme which gives incentives to families that recycle.

  • Our water supply faces pressures from reduced river flows, pollution and growing demand.
    We will:
  • Reform the water industry, and bring in new measures to encourage businesses and households to value this precious resource more highly, and protect poorer households from excessive rises in water bills; and

  • Take forward the findings of the Pitt Review on the summer 2007 floods to improve our flood defences, prevent unnecessary building in areas of high flood risk, and ensure the country is better equipped when flooding does take place.


  • As well as targeted help for protected habitats and species we will take a broader ecosystem approach which improves the landscape as a whole.

    A Conservative government will:
  • Produce a White Paper on protecting the natural environment, including a focus on restoring habitat;

  • Pioneer a new system of conservation credits to protect habitats and create incentives to invest in wildlife;

  • Maintain national Green Belt protection, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and other environmental designations which protect the character of our country's landscape;

  • Work to reduce litter, which spoils too much of our countryside and urban environment;

  • Launch a national tree planting campaign to green our towns and cities by planting up to one million new trees in the next Parliament; and

  • Tackle illegal logging by pressing for international action to halt deforestation and introducing a new criminal offence under UK law for the import and possession of illegal timber.


  • There is an urgent need to improve the protection of our marine environment, as many of our fish stocks have been over-exploited. We will fight for wholesale reform of the Common Fisheries Policy to encourage sustainable practices, give communities a greater say over the future of their fishing industries, and bring an end to the scandal of fish discards.

    Having called for the Marine Act, we will ensure that its conservation measures are implemented effectively, including the creation of Marine Conservation Zones.


    The full manifesto can be downloaded here.

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