Thursday, 29 April 2010

Lib Dem plans for the environment

Greenpeace have described the Lib Dems plans for the environment as the most ambitious of any party. But both Tory and Labour say their plans to cut carbon to zero without nuclear are unrealistic.

By Louise Gray, Environment CorrespondentPublished: 5:31PM BST 28 Apr 2010

:: The only party to increase the target on cutting carbon emissions to 100 per cent by 2050, although 10 per cent will come from carbon offsets.

:: Reduce carbon greenhouse gas emissions by more than 40 per cent by 2020 with no offsets.
:: Unilaterally move towards 30 per cent reductions by 2020 and move for the whole of Europe to do likewise.
:: Push for international deal that limits temperature rise to 1.7C by boosting by asking rich countries to reduce greenhouse gases. Invest in clean energy for poor countries and sharing technology. Push for zero net deforestation by 2020. Adopt at EU or UK level a new law making it illegal to import or possess timber produced illegally in foreign countries.
:: Work with other countries to develop an international labelling system so consumers can see the impact of different products.
:: Robin Hood tax or cap and trade system for carbon emissions from aviation and shipping to pay for climate finance.
:: Create domestic laws to stop illegal timber being sold in Britain if EU legislation does not happen.
:: The Liberal Democrats plan to create a one-year green job stimulus plan, for which £3.1 billion of cuts in government expenditure would be used to create 100,000 new jobs in home insulation and renewable energy.
:: UK Green Investment Bank set up with government seed funding to attract in private finance. Investigate ways of raising seed capital such as auctioning airport slots.
:: Begin a 10 year programme of home insulation, offering a home energy improvement package of up to £10,000 per home, paid for by the savings from lower energy bills and make sure every new home is fully energy-efficient by improving building regulations.
:: Up to 40 per cent of UK electricity should come from clean energy by 2020, raising to 100 per cent by 2050, underpinned by guaranteed price support, and ensure that at least three-quarters of this new renewable energy comes from marine and offshore sources.
:: Update the National Grid so it can cope with new clean energy sources and better use sub sea connections so UK is prepared to join European Supergrid.
:: Investing up to £400 million in refurbishing shipyards in the North of England and Scotland so that they can manufacture offshore wind turbines and other marine renewable energy equipment.
:: 800,000 green internships.
:: Block any new coal-fired power stations unless they are accompanied by the highest level of carbon capture and storage facilities. Leaves you open to building them?
:: No new nuclear power stations
:: Central government will have to cut its energy use by 10 per cent by 2010 in line with 10:10 campaign. Also require companies to report and reduce their energy use.
:: Reform EU emissions trading scheme by bringing in a tighter cap on emissions, auctioning as many allowances as possible and encouraging other European countries to increase the use of reserve prices in allowance auctions.
:: Change the tariffs system so that the first essential use energy you use is cheapest and rewarding those who make an effort to use less. Social tariffs ensure the best price for those in need. Extend protection and support to 'off-gas-grid' consumers.
:: Encourage community-owned renewable energy schemes where local people benefit.
:: Setting aside extra money for schools who want to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. They will pay back the loan over time from energy savings, creating a rolling fund to help insulate every public building.
:: UK Infrastructure Bank to attract private finance investment in public transport and energy.
:: Launching an 'Eco cashback' scheme, for one year only, which will give you £400 if you install double glazing, replace an old boiler or install microgeneration. If you choose microgeneration, you will be able to sell the energy back to the National Grid at a profit, with a more attractive feed-in tariff than under current Government plans.
:: Bring 250,000 empty homes back into use. People who own these homes will get a grant or a cheap loan to renovate them so that they can be used: grants if the home is for social housing, loans for private use.
:: Compulsory water meters in areas of water stress.
:: Polluter pays taxes. For example replacing the per-passenger Air Passenger Duty with a per-plane duty and ensuring the air freight is taxed for the first time.
:: Invest £140 million in a bus scrappage scheme that helps bus companies to replace old polluting buses with new, accessible low carbon ones and create jobs.
:: Cancel plans for a third runway at Heathrow and other airport expansion in the South East and reduce pollution through tighter regulation on vehicle exhausts. Fully meet European air quality targets by 2012.
:: Invest in high speed rail and improve rail networks using money from cutting the roads budget.
:: Cut rail fares, changing the rules in contracts with Train Operating Companies so that regulated fares fall behind inflation by one per cent each year, meaning a real terms cut.
:: Make Network Rail refund a third of your ticket price if you have to take a rail replacement bus service.
:: A legally binding Supermarket Code of practice and an Independent Food Market Regulator to ensure a fair price for food.
:: Introduce farm apprenticeship scheme
:: End testing of household products on animals.
:: Reform of farm subsidies including taking £300 payments out of the system because they are too expensive to process.
:: Improve food labelling on a voluntary basis and then through Europe.
:: Full access code for the countryside. Everyone will have statutory access rights to most land and inland water – as long as they follow responsibility law.
:: Abolish the Infrastructure Planning Commission and return planning decisions to local authorities.
:: Gardens will be greenfield sites so they cannot be built on.
:: Double the UK's woodland cover by 2050.
:: Extend feed in tariff to farms and provide loans for anaerobic digestion plants.
:: Create a statutory duty on manufacturers to accept the return of products and packaging, including plastic bags, furniture, electrical goods and mobile phones, so they can be recycled.