Friends of the Earth comment on party manifestos

The campaign group generally praised them all - but criticised support for roads, airports and HS2.

The environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth has issued statements commenting on the Tory, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green manifestos.

They were generally positive about the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos but critised both parties’ failure to oppose roads, airport expansion and the HS2 rail programme.

They criticised the Conservative Party’s road building pledge, the “inadequate” level of funding for home insulation and the absence of solar or onshore wind power from the manifesto.

While they said there were some welcome policies, like banning fracking, they summarised the party’s policies as “nothing like sufficient to stop the climate crisis”.

They were most positive about the Green Party’s manifesto and their “ambitious measures across the board”.

On the Labour manifesto, the group’s head of political affairs Dave Timms said:

“Labour has set out a massive and credible commitment to transform the UK’s housing, and energy systems, in the next decade to virtually end their contribution to climate change – with the cash to deliver it.”

“There are also important pledges to end the funding of fossil fuel projects abroad, tax oil companies and prevent environmental standards from being undermined by trade negotiations. However, some commitments on cutting transport emissions – an essential part of getting to net zero – are vague or absent.

“Investment in free bus travel and the railways are great, but there is no firm commitment to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, and no end to HS2, the road building programme or airport expansion. These need addressing if Labour’s policy pledges are going to meet its radical rhetoric on the urgency of the climate emergency.”

On the Conservative manifesto, Timms said:

“The Conservative manifesto shows little enthusiasm for either HS2 or Heathrow expansion, but neither are they opposed. However there is a huge £28.8bn pledge for road building. £1bn on electric car charging points is welcome, but just reviewing the end date for combustion engine vehicle sales rather than bringing the date froward to 2030 is a cop out. Sitting on fences doesn’t cut carbon pollution.

“Off-shore wind is rightly celebrated as a big part of moving to a zero carbon power system. Spending on desperately needed home insulation is promised but inadequate, and it doesn’t even mention green-heating, on-shore wind and solar power. It’s good to see a firm recommitment to the fracking moratorium, but there’s nothing to stop the UK promoting and funding fossil fuels abroad. And there is no commitment to go faster than net zero emissions by 2050. Overall, despite some good policies its nothing like sufficient to stop the climate crisis.”

On the Liberal Democrat manifesto, Timms said:

“The Liberal Democrats have unveiled numerous strong policies to address the climate emergency, especially when it comes to renewable energy, home insulation and forcing the to-often recalcitrant Treasury to play its role.

“They also have serious commitments and policies to restore our countryside, protect nature and stop plastic waste polluting our rivers, fields and oceans.

“But these green pledges are undermined by continued backing for the expensive, nature-wrecking HS2 project, leaving the door open to regional airport expansion and silence on the need to end destructive road-building programmes.”

On the Green manifesto, Timms said:

“This manifesto throws down the green gauntlet to the other parties. It sets out in detail a massive and urgent response to the climate emergency that encompasses radical change from the most detailed local policies to international interventions.

“The Green Party are proposing ambitious measures across the board; from help for other nations to deal with the climate emergency, to insulation and eco-heating for millions of homes to cut emissions and bills.

“They also face up to the things we shouldn’t be doing, such as aviation expansion, and even have mandatory hedgehog holes in garden fences to help protect nature. The question this manifesto poses is not one of ambition but whether they could develop the skills and supply chains quickly enough to deliver.”

Update: This article was updated on 25/11/2019 to include Friends of the Earth’s response to the Conservative manifesto.

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One Response to “Friends of the Earth comment on party manifestos”

  1. John Bull

    Presumably opponents of HS2 want to see more people using the M6 and M1 to get from South to North!

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