Manifesto watch: Which party has the best green policies?

The race for Number 10 heated up this week as the five main political parties released their manifestos ahead of next month's General Election. So, who's now leading the pack when it comes to energy and climate change?

The Green Party’s document perhaps predictably touted the most ambitious policies, while the Lib Dem’s Five Green Laws were as prominent as promised by Ed Davey.

Labour’s ‘Red Ed’ evidently went green; reaffirming some bold pledges on climate change and decarbonising the UK energy supply. Prime Minister David Cameron wasn’t so promising. The Conservatives in fact came under fire for ignoring waste policy and threatening to end onshore wind subsidies.

Meanwhile, UKIP’s controversy continued into the environment, with Nigel Farage’s party essentially promising to end the majority of the UK’s green polices and rejuvenate the coal industry.

Here is a brief summary of where all the parties stand on the key green issues. Take a read and let us know which party you think has the best manifesto – cast your VOTE below

Climate change

Greens: Underpins majority of policies. Propose 90% reduction in emissions in the next 15-20 years.

Lib Dems: Make Britain carbon-neutral by 2050.

Labour: Stick to Climate Change Act (CCA). Put climate change “at the heart of foreign policy” as the “most important thing we can do for our children”.

Conservatives: Also stick to CCA and “cut emissions as cost-effectively as possible”.

UKIP: Repeal CCA – “the most expensive piece of legislation in British history”, having done “untold damage”.


Greens: Spend £35bn over the next parliament on renewable generation and adapting the national grid. Expand energy storage and biomass, “where sustainable”.

Lib Dems: Target of 60% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Labour: Decarbonise electricity supply by 2030. Establish an Energy Security Board to oversee these targets and deliver “the energy mix we need, including renewables.

Conservatives: Provide start-up funding for promising new renewable technologies and research, but only give significant support to those that “clearly represent value for money”. End support for new onshore wind farms

UKIP: “UKIP supports and will invest in renewables where they can deliver electricity at competitive prices.” Only hydro meets this criterion, so the party will withdraw taxpayer and consumer subsidies for new wind turbines and solar PV.

Unconventional fuels

Greens: Ban fracking and phase out nuclear in ten years.

Lib Dems: Nuclear power stations “can play a role in building a sustainable economy”. Shale can also contribute to a low carbon economy, so a Low-carbon Transition Fund will be set up with shale profits.

Labour: Establish a “robust” environmental and regulatory regime before extraction can take place. Support nuclear.

Conservatives: “All out for shale.” Create a Sovereign Wealth Fund for the North of England, to reinvest shale profits. Support nuclear.

UKIP: It’s “time to get fracking, provided safeguards are in place to protect the environment”. Support nuclear.


Greens: Reach jobs-rich circular economy with as much waste minimisation as possible. Ban foodwaste to landfill, increase recycling spending by £4bn and set 70% recycling target by 2020.

Lib Dems: “The successful economies of the future will be ‘circular’.” Set a statutory target to recycle 70% of waste in England.

UKIP: WRAP – “an unnecessary quango” – would be axed to apparently save the country £15.5m.

Conservative and Labour: No specific mention of waste policy.

Domestic efficiency

Greens: £45bn home-improvement plan, offering a £5,000 retrofit grant for houses in fuel poverty; upgrading insulation, and installing solar panels and other energy sources where necessary.

Lib Dems: Reform the Green Deal ‘pay as you save’ scheme into a new Green Homes Loan Scheme, funding renewable heat and electricity alongside energy efficiency. Statutory target to bring the homes of all fuel-poor households to Band C by 2027.

Labour: “Major drive” for energy efficiency, insulating five million homes by 2020.

Conservatives: Support low-cost measures on energy efficiency, with the goal of insulating a million more homes over the next five years – “supporting our commitment to tackle fuel poverty”.

UKIP: No mention.

Full manifesto round-ups 

Poll: Have your say

Brad Allen

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