Leaked Labour manifesto promises air quality improvements and renewables revolution

A leaked version of the Labour Party's General Election manifesto has uncovered proposals to boost renewable energy, create a new zero-carbon homes standard and maintain access to the internal energy market.

The 43-page text surfaced online last night (10 May) after being leaked to the Mirror and The Telegraph ahead of its official launch on Monday. The untimely leak forced Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn to cancel a proposed presentation of the Party’s campaign poster this morning.

The radical document, which includes plans to nationalise the rail industry and scrap tuition fees, also holds a pledge for renewables to provide 60% of the country’s energy needs by 2030. The Party aims to deliver on the target by bringing the energy system back into public ownership, with support for community energy projects and the creation of an immediate emergency fuel price cap.

Other key proposals include a new Clean Air Act to “deal with the Tory legacy of illegal air quality” and a ban on fracking, which the manifesto says would “lock us into an energy infrastructure based on fossil fuels”.

The text reads: “Tackling climate change is non-negotiable, yet recent years have seen a failure to progress towards our targets. A Labour Government will put us back on track to meet the targets in the Climate Change Act and the Paris Agreement.

“Building a clean economy of the future is the most important thing we must do for our children, grandchildren and future generations.”

National investment

According to the leaked text, a flagship policy of Corbyn’s will be to establish a National Investment Bank, which will draw upon public and private capital to deliver the UK’s renewable energy needs.

The document also promises to protect environmental standards during the upcoming Brexit negotiations. Continued access to the internal energy market, for instance, would be prioritised during talks with Brussels, the manifesto said. It claims that future trade negotiations would be used to boost support for investment into new green technologies and innovative low-carbon products.

The draft places on a broad focus on energy efficiency measures; a 0% loan offer for homeowners to insulate their properties sits alongside a vow to enforce the “highest modern standards” for zero carbon buildings.

A host of policy objectives seek to deliver protections for the natural environment. Specifically, Labour pledges a ban on neonicotinoids to protect the declining bee population, and promises to plant a million trees to promote biodiversity and better flood management. Labour also plans to set guiding targets for plastic bottle deposit schemes, working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste.

‘Total shambles’

The final version of the Labour Manifesto was due to be thrashed out at a key meeting between Corbyn and senior figures today, before an anticipated official launch on Monday. Labour’s alleged plans were derided as a “total shambles” by the Conservative Party.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to unleash chaos on Britain have been revealed,” a Tory spokesperson said. “The commitments in this dossier will rack up tens of billions of extra borrowing for our families and will put  Brexit negotiations put at risk. Jobs will be lost, families will be hit and our economic security damaged for a generation if Jeremy Corbyn and the coalition of chaos are ever let anywhere near the keys to Downing Street.”

The revelations came as the Green Party unveiled its own General Election environment manifesto, which made a swathe of green promises that aim to build a “prosperous, thriving future” for UK businesses and citizens. Key points include a promise to tackle air quality through a new Clean Air Act, and a pledge to create a new Environmental Protection Act that will “guarantee strong protections” in the wake of Brexit.

The other major political parties are due to unveil their respective manifestos in the early part of this week. A full report of each manifesto will be published on the edie website.

George Ogleby

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