UKIP manifesto: “Save coal industry, end support for renewables”
"The lights are likely to go out if we carry on with this energy policy," proclaims the UKIP manifesto, launched by Nigel Farage today in Essex.
The 72-page manifesto argues that the green agenda of the mainstream parties does not them make the friends of the earth, but rather “enemies of the people”.
The party therefore wants to rejuvenate Britain’s fossil-fuel generation, fast-track fracking and scrap Decc and WRAP as well as the Climate Change Act.
Here are the key green points: –
UKIP brands the Climate Change Act “the most expensive piece of legislation in British history”, costing around £720bn and doing “untold damage”.
The party plans to repeal the policy and fails to mention the Paris 2015 conference. It also identifies Decc as a department whose “essential powers and functions can be merged into other departments”.
Abandoning decarbonisation paves the way for fossil fuels, which are integral to a resilient energy supply, says UKIP. As such they propose a series of steps to “rejuvenate the coal industry”.
These including dropping all subsidies for wind and solar power, to “ensure a level playing field for coal”, and discontinuing the carbon floor tax on the basis that production for coal fired power stations is combined with carbon capture and storage.
UKIP will also abolish green taxes and levies and withdraw from the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, purportedly reducing fuel bills and enhancing industrial competitiveness. The saving for consumers is projected to be almost £200 a year per household by 2020.
“UKIP supports and will invest in renewables where they can deliver electricity at competitive prices,” says the manifesto.
However the only major renewable technology that meets this UKIP criterion is hydro, so the party will withdraw taxpayer and consumer subsidies for new wind turbines and solar photovoltaic arrays.
The manifesto says: “Wind power is hopelessly inefficient and wind farms rely heavily on reserve back-up from conventional power sources. They have blighted landscapes and put money into the pockets of wealthy landowners and investors, while pushing up bills for the rest of us.”
UKIP supports the development of shale gas, provided safeguards are in place to protect local communities and the environment.
Pointing to the US as an example of safe extraction, the party says the profits of shale gas will be invested in a Sovereign Wealth fund (as proposed by George Osborne).
WRAP – labelled an “unnecessary quango” – would also face the axe to save £15.5m.
Reacting to the announcement, Resource Association chief executive Ray Georgeson said: “UKIP have confirmed themselves as the anti-environment party with their commitments to abolish the Climate Change Act and returning to coal-fired power.
“As for the abolition of WRAP, they seem to have missed the fact that WRAP is not actually a formal agency of government. They may well wish to take away its government funding, but they don’t have the power to abolish it. All in all, it’s a predictable package that holds no surprises. To say it would be bad for the environment and the economy would be an understatement.”
UKIP plans to remove barriers to building on brownfield sites, erecting one million homes on brownfield sites by 2025 to address the current housing shortage. UKIP will also require the Environment Agency to compile a National Brownfield Sites Register.
Environmental Industries Commission’s executive director Matthew Farrow commented: “We welcome UKIP’s emphasis on incentivising brownfield redevelopment, and the proposed National Brownfield Sites Register along with prioritising of brownfield development in the planning system could prove useful in pushing this forward.
“Unsurprisingly however, we have deep concerns about the other references to environmental issues in the manifesto, such as the abolition of the Climate Change Act or a push for even greater reliance on fossil fuels – which are short-sighted will do little to protect our environment for future generations.”
The lost environmentalist…
Despite the obvious anti-green policies, Farage has previously identified himself to an edie reporter as an “environmentalist.”
However he has lost his enthusiasm for the cause, as the growing sustainability industry has managed to “bully weak minded politicians into making a series of decisions that actually aren’t good for biodiversity, sustainability or the environment”.
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