It is now just four days until the General Election and some regular visitors to this blog spot may have noticed a lack of election posts this time round and there is a good reason for this. Usually, I take some time to investigate the environmental policies of the various parties, but in the case of this election, none of the major parties seems to have developed any environmental policies worth discussing.
Here, however, I try to highlight the key policy differences:
Conservatives - Committed to expanding Heathrow
UKIP – Oppose Heathrow expansion in favour of enlarging smaller airports
All parties are committed to HS2 except Green Party and UKIP
Clean Air/Global Warming
Labour – New Clean Air Act to legislate against diesel fumes
Liberals – Diesel scrappage scheme, Binding target of zero net green house gas emissions by 2050, ultra-low emission zones in many cities
UKIP – Repeal the Climate Act
Labour – Ban on Fracking
Liberals – Oppose Fracking
Conservatives – Will allow shale gas exploitation but not fracking
Conservatives – Will offer a free vote on the Hunting Ban
THE LABOUR PARTY - Musings on the Wild Score: 7/10
The party manifesto has specific sections on Environment and Animal Welfare, however, a good chunk just says what the Conservatives have done wrong without outlining what they would do right. They talk enthusiastically about safeguarding wildlife and the environment but do not say how and in what way. Most promisingly they oppose changes to the hunting ban and would end the badger TB cull.
THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY - Musings on the Wild Score: 5/10
No specific sections in the manifesto. The party discusses the use of Shale Gas as a resource allowing non-fracking drilling accompanied with softening of the planning law. They will set up a specialist regulatory body and believe this will be a lower carbon resource than coal.
Investment in developing low emission vehicles
In terms of the countryside, they want Natural England to offer more advice to farmers but do not say how they will fund this.
Disappointingly they will offer a free vote on the repeal of the Hunting Ban.
They do however offer to produce a 25-year plan for the environment to focus legislation.
LIBERAL DEMOCRATS - Musings on the Wild Score: 8/10
The liberals have a dedicated chapter on the environment. They give detailed plans on reducing diesel emissions and reducing Greenhouse Gases such as the Zero Carbon Britain Act. They promote a greener housing programme with more efficiency standards. They are the only party to suggest more green spaces and a Nature Capital Act.They also have an ambitious plan to plant a tree for every person in the country. The Liberals will increase legislation on waste reduction.
I know the environment is only one theme people consider in an election but I hope that all people who vote on Thursday will factor these ideas into their decision.