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Archive for June, 2017

GE 2017 

Labour, LibDems, and Greens are along the same end of the scale – admittedly a longish scale. In fact, I have not read the manifestos, but from leaders’ debates and other coverage, it seems Plyd Cymru and SNP also share similar views. Having said that this is an extrapolation as coverage of environmental issues in the debates has been next to nothing which I find shameful!

Conservatives and UKIP are towards the other end of the same scale but there seems to be a larger gap between these two parties than there is between the other three.

So, another election, another read of the manifestos…now I’d better stock up the butter cups for a long night on the 8th June!

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green party

This is a rather late and a shorter version. But the Green Party made it easy to pick out their environmental pledges. They are the only party with a separate environment manifesto – perhaps not surprisingly. It can be seen here.

Green Party’s key environmental policies are on this webpage, easy to see:

  • An Environmental Protection Act to safeguard and restore our environment, protect and enhance biodiversity, promote sustainable food and farming, and ensure animal protection.
  • A public works programme of insulation to make every home warm and investing in flood defences and natural flood management to make every community safer.
  • Equality of access to nature and green spaces, to enhance leisure, health and wellbeing.
  • Active ongoing cooperation with businesses and other countries to limit global temperature increases to well below 2 degrees and aiming for 1.5 degrees.
  • Replacing fracking, coal power stations, subsidies to fossil fuels and nuclear with the clean green efficient renewable energy of the future, and investing in community owned energy.
  • Introduce a one-off fine on car manufacturers who cheated the emissions testing regime and create a new Clean Air Act, expanding and funding a mandatory clean air zone network.
  • Strong protection for the Green Belt, National Parks, SSSIs and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • A wider, more effective network of marine protected areas around our coasts, including fully protected no take zones.
  • Tough action to reduce plastic and other waste, including the introduction of Deposit Return Schemes, with a zero waste target.

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#GE2017 UKIP

UKIP logo

UK Independence Party

You can click on the title above to go to the page where you can see the Manifesto. The costings are presented in the last two pages of the manifesto document. The summary below shows quotations from the manifesto (in italics with page numbers reported) and some commentary.  The titles are mostly as they appear in the manifesto, unless statements are grouped.

Brexit and the Environment

One of the six Brexit tests in the UKIP manifesto is vaguely environmental:

“3 THE MARITIME TEST: The UK’s full maritime sovereignty must be restored and we must have control of our maritime exclusive economic zone, which stretches 200 miles off the coast or to the half-way point between the UK and neighbouring countries. There must be no constraints on our fishing fleet other than those decided upon by the UK parliament.” p.7

I say ‘vaguely’ because it is strongly implied the control over the maritime zone would prioritise the financial gain from fisheries (“rebuild the once flourishing fishing industry” p.8) rather than protection of the fish population. However, this is an implication, not an explicit statement.

Boosting the fishing industry comes up as a means in the chapter on Creating Coastal Enterprise Zones, too – even though the chapter is about generally coastal towns and tourism resorts rather than a new planning zone for enterprise as the title may lead one to think.

The reference to control of maritime exclusive economic zone could be read as ‘UK maritime waters for UK fishing fleet alone’. However, on page 9, the manifesto pledges to “Introduce a time-limited, paid licence fee option for selected foreign vessels to fish within the UK’s territorial waters, while the UK fishing industry re-establishes itself.”

Sound National Finances, a Lower Cost of Living

UKIP will remove VAT from domestic energy bills and scrap the green levies currently added to our bills to subsidise renewable energy schemes. Together, these measures will cut typical household energy bills by £170 a year.” p.10. There is no mention in the manifesto if alternative support will be provided for renewable energy, though preference is clearly for low cost fossil fuels in the Energy Security chapter.

Solving Britain’s Housing Shortage

UKIP is the only party being realistic about what can be done to increase the housing supply and putting forward a viable solution: a bold policy to roll out high quality, low cost factory built modular (FBM) homes, affordable on the national average wage of £26,000.

Factory-built homes should not be confused with the pre-fabs of the past. They are built to last, to high design standards, and are energy efficient, with running costs up to 30per cent less than traditional homes.” p.16

Trade Not Aid

UKIP pledges to cut the 0.7 % of GDP aid budget and close down the Department for International Development. However,

“[They] will continue to fund projects that make a real difference: clean water programmes, childhood inoculations, medical assistance, and disaster and emergency relief….

We will continue to fund projects that make a real difference: clean water programmes, childhood inoculations, medical assistance, and disaster and emergency relief….

We will not engage in unethical trade practices that harm or inhibit their trade, traditional lifestyles, or natural resources” p.48

Transport

“Electrically propelled vehicles are now a serious option for many families but the charging infrastructure is not keeping pace. UKIP will support the installation of rapid charging stations in towns and cities, and encourage off street parking and charging provision in all new housing and industrial developments through the local planning process….

A scrappage scheme giving diesel car owners up to £2,000 to get rid of their vehicles has also been   introduced, and UKIP supports this; however, we will combine it with an incentive scheme encouraging drivers to exchange their vehicles for electric or hybrid models. UKIP will prevent diesel drivers from being penalised through higher taxes, parking fees, or emissions’ zone charging…. UKIP will continue to support the expansion of smaller regional airports. p.51

Protecting Our Environment

This section starts with reference to Brexit not putting environment, farming and fisheries at risk. The key points are summarised below (from pages 52 – 53):

  • The Water Framework Directive led to serious flooding in many parts of the country by preventing river dredging. Repealing this directive will spare homeowners the misery of flooding and exorbitant insurance premiums.
  • UKIP will promote evidence-based environmental schemes, and safeguard protection for Britain’s wildlife, nature reserves, areas of outstanding natural beauty, countryside, and coastlines in a new Environmental Protection Act, prioritising policies to protect our precious countryside for future generations.
  • Major infrastructure projects will be required to give much more respect to irreplaceable natural habitats.
  • UKIP will amend planning legislation to promote inclusion of trees and open space into new developments. We will also require new developments to use permeable or porous surfacing materials for single-storey, ground level domestic car parking and front gardens, so rainwater can drain.
  • We will investigate the practicality of introducing a deposit scheme on plastic drinks bottles to encourage recycling.

2015 pledges that are repeated include the following:

  • Prioritise brownfield rather than greenfield or agricultural land for new housing
  • Support farming and wildlife though grant schemes prioritising the preservation of natural habitats
  • Match fund grants made by local authorities for rural capital projects which enhance the local environment or help recovery from environmental disasters
  • Protect dolphins by banning the use of pair trawling for sea bass Offer local referenda to overturn unpopular development

Food Production and Animal Welfare

“We will introduce a UK Single Farm Payment (SFP) that operates in a similar way to the present EU system. The major difference will be that UKIP’s SFP will be more ethical. It will end EU discrimination in favour of larger, intensive farms, and support smaller enterprises. Subsidies will be capped at £120,000 per year and, to make sure payments reach farmers, not just wealthy landowners, we will pay only those who actually farm the land. Organic farms will be paid 25 per cent more, and additional support will be given to hill farmers. There will be no set-aside, cropping or rotation restrictions.” p.55

Expected environmental impacts of these changes to the agri-environment scheme are not mentioned in the manifesto.

Our Future Energy Security

“Every political party except UKIP has thrown its weight behind the 2008 Climate Change Act. Set to cost us an eye-watering £319 billion by 2030, this Act has no basis in science, and its aim of cutting greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050 is unachievable. It is a textbook exercise in legislative folly, brought about by nothing more than a competitive cross party ‘dash for green.’

While our major global competitors in the USA, China and India are switching to low-cost fossil fuels, this Act forces us to close perfectly good coal-fired power stations to meet unattainable targets for renewable capacity. If we carry on like this, the lights are likely to go out.

UKIP will repeal the 2008 Climate Change Act and support a diverse energy market based on coal, nuclear, shale gas, conventional gas, oil, solar and hydro, as well as other renewables when they can be delivered at competitive prices. We will also withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, to enhance our industrial competitiveness.” p.56

The manifesto, sadly, does not offer any evidence to support the claim that the Climate Change Act has no basis in science.

UKIP will allow fracking to ensure fuel security, though the manifesto states the party “will not, however, allow drilling for shale in our national parks or other areas of outstanding natural beauty.”

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