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The Lib Dems have developed a range of so-called Green Policies which have received a great deal of support from a variety of independent organisations. For instance:
Friends of the Earth campaigner Dave Timms said: “These are welcome and ambitious measures to end the scandal of food waste and make efficient use of our natural resources.”
Green Running and ETIndex Chairman James Cameron and 21 other leading green business owners and environmentalists say Lib Dems are best for the environment (ref 14).
This post pulls these policies together and summarises the local policies that are relevant to South Hams in section 5.
Currently, a proposed legislative framework, generally referred to as the Five Green Laws, forms the background to the green policies, as articulated in the 2017 manifesto (ref 2) and other supporting policy statements. However, all these policies are under review and the emphasis is likely to change. Of particular note is the Climate Change Policy Working Group (see below). For the purposes of this exercise the following just considers the current extant policy set.
The references section lists the key documents. Sections 1 to 4 attempt to give some background, while section 5 is a set of local green policies.
The remit of this group is to build on policy 109 (ref 10 ) and the Climate Change report (ref 11) and will consider the following areas:
The justifications for green policies are mostly obvious but the following are those that have been cited in LD policies and statements:
Climate change is a real and pressing emergency. 2017 is the 41st consecutive year in which global surface temperatures exceeded the twentieth-century average. 2016 saw atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide reach a level not seen for 800,000 years. Extreme weather driven by climate change is placing one in six homes in Britain at risk of serious flooding.
More than 3,000 people die each year in the UK because they cannot afford to properly heat their homes; the UK has the second worst rate of excess winter deaths in Europe.
Air pollution contributes to 40,000 premature deaths a year and costs the NHS £15 billion; more than 4.5 million children in the UK are growing up in areas with toxic levels of air pollution. The government has now lost three court cases over its inadequate plans to tackle the problem.
UK investment in clean energy fell by 56 per cent in 2017, although worldwide spending on renewables climbed by 3 per cent, and in China by 25 per cent. Investment in renewables rose every year during the coalition government.
In May 2018 the government announced their intention to open the way to fracking, allowing drilling for shale gas without the need for planning applications, environmental impact assessments or any local democratic say.
Although nearly 5 million tonnes of plastic waste is generated in the UK each year, just 50 per cent of plastic bottles and 12–15 per cent of mixed plastics are recycled. About 5,000 items of marine plastic pollution per mile of beach have been found in the UK
The green policy framework is defined by what is referred to as the Five Green Laws. These were introduced in 2015 (see ref 4 ) and have since been refined. They underpin policies that have been developed over a number of years and their importance has been recently (Nov 2018) reiterated in an article by Sir Ed Davey MP (see ref 12). These proposed bills are obviously premised on an LD government but they also clearly define the party’s national aims and objectives. The five Acts of Parliament needed to implement these Laws are:
The 2017 Manifesto makes some additions to the original proposals. These are prefixed by ‘manifesto’.
British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank to support investment into low-carbon and sustainable infrastructure.
Introducing a Council Tax discount for significant improvements in energy efficiency in homes.
Setting ambitious targets for all social and private rented homes to reach Energy Performance Certificates Band C by 2027.
Bringing forward a new legal framework to require regulators to facilitate the development of deep geothermal heat, large-scale heat pumps, waste industrial heat and energy storage systems.
Introducing new energy efficiency and heat saving regulations to reduce energy use.
Manifesto: Restore the Zero Carbon Standard for new homes which was set by Liberal Democrats in government and since abandoned by the Conservatives, increasing the standard steadily and extending it to non-domestic buildings by 2022.
Treating upgrading the energy performance of housing stock as a priority, high-added-value national infrastructure investment, to be designated as capital expenditure.
Adopting a comprehensive strategy to tackle fuel poverty in the social housing and privately rented sectors with, as a first step, a commitment to bring all fuel-poor homes to Energy Performance Certificate Band C or above by 2027.
There are a number of manifesto commitments and policies that sit outside of the Five Green Laws but are clearly related to protecting the environment.
The following policies were passed at the Spring 2019 Conference:
Sections 1 to 4 have attempted to give the national policy background. This section puts this into the context of South Hams and what the District Council should do to further these policy ambitions.
In the following the words “encouraging” and “promoting” appear a lot. In general this means taking active steps to educate and to develop policies to incentivise.
The Joint Local Plan (JLP) is in the process of being finalised and a new Council after 2 May will therefore have little or no chance to vary this (which is a problem with the legislative process that needs addressing). Any variations will need to be implemented as Supplementary Development Documents.
General Policy Papers vist
Manifesto 2017 (see section 5) vist
Green Liberal Democrats – Policies vist
Five Green Laws – substantive motion 2015 vist
Policy 143 – Demand Better – Section 5 – A Green Economy and a Green Society vist
DCC Climate Change Review Report (2018) vist
Kingston Liberal Democrats Manifesto – an example vist
Green Liberal Democrats on Facebook vist
Climate and the Low Carbon Economy vist
Policy 109 – Green Growth Green Jobs vist
Climate Change report commissioned by LDs (2017): Clean, Green and Carbon Free vist
Sir Ed Davey MP – We need bold action on climate change (Nov 2018) vist
Resource Productivity vist
Lib Dems are best for the Environment (2017) vist
Regulators Code vist
UKGBC – Driving sustainability in new homes:a resource for local authorities (Jul 2018) vist