'An inspiring vision for the natural world': Green Party unveils environment manifesto
The Green Party has today (11 May) made a swathe of green promises in its General Election environment manifesto, which aims to build a "prosperous, thriving future" for UK businesses and citizens.
Launched this morning by Co-Leader Caroline Lucas, the Green Party manifesto pledges to create a new Environmental Protection Act that will “guarantee strong protections” in the wake of Brexit, creating a new environmental regulator and court.
The manifesto also promises action on air quality through a new Clean Air Act; specific pledges include a new diesel scrappage scheme, a levy on emissions cheating car manufacturers and a strengthened Clean Air Zone network across the country.
The Green Party will signal an end to reliance on fossil fuels with a ban on fracking and pledge to bring forward the coal phase out two years early to 2023. It intends to scrap plans for all new nuclear power stations, including Hinkley Point C, with an alternative strategy to “harness the dramatically falling costs of renewable energy”.
“With 2016 the hottest year on record, and a climate-denier in the White House, the need for bold and dynamic action on climate change has never been more urgent,” Lucas said.
“The UK must lead the world in building a green economy and investing in a viable future - one that respects and nurtures the natural systems on which we depend. The Greens are the only party to truly recognise the importance of the environment.”
The manifesto proposes that all new energy investment will be directed towards “clean, renewable energy”, with specific references of support for solar, offshore and onshore wind, and electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. This will be matched by an efficiency drive, with plans to embark on a retrofit scheme that ensures all new homes are built to zero-carbon standards by 2020.
The Greens pledge to end the monopoly of the big six energy providers through the support of community energy projects, which it expects to reach at least 42GW by 2025. A smarter, interconnected energy system would also incorporate battery storage and demand response technologies, the manifesto said.
Also mooted is a new Green Investment and Innovation Centre to help secure finance for the low-carbon transition, replacing the recently privatised Green Investment Bank (GIB), described as a “victim of reckless Conservative ideology”.
The Party has committed to support resource efficiency through the introduction of a bottle deposit scheme, which it hopes will stop 16 million plastic bottles ending up in the environment every day. A 25-year target for biodiversity, water and would established alongside a new environmental regulator and law court be under a Green Party Government. Support for clean transport, meanwhile, is embodied in a £2bn investment programme to promote cycling and walking.
The other major political parties are due to unveil their respective manifestos in the early part of this week. A leaked version of Labour’s draft manifesto surfaced online last night, four days ahead of its anticipated release. The document included an array of green pledges, including a plan to introduce a new carbon homes standard and boost the proportion of renewables in the energy system to 60% by 2030. A full report of the Labour manifesto will be published on the edie website shortly.