The Labour Party today promised a green future for Britain if it is elected for a fourth term in office on May 6.
In its election manifesto, the Labour Party pledges its commitment to a low carbon economy, putting measures such as a Green Investment Bank, High Speed Rail and green jobs at the heart of its economic recovery plans.
Clearly attempting to send out a message that the party is committed to tackling climate change and creating a green economy, the manifesto devotes a whole chapter to a green recovery. But there is little evidence in the document of any new policy pledges around the green agenda.
Attacking Tory environmental polices as without substance, the manifesto attempts to position Labour as the party of choice for a low carbon recovery and future growth.
"For the Tories the environment has been all about image – by failing to deliver on our renewable
energy targets, reversing our planning reforms and giving up on our new industrial strategy, they would put Labour’s low carbon revolution in jeopardy," it says.
It argues that Labour’s interventionist approach is necessary to secure a low carbon future. "Only active government can shape markets to prioritise green growth and job creation. Environmental sustainability cannot be left to individuals and businesses acting alone," it says.
400,000 new green jobs by 2015
Among the pledges listed is one to create 400,000 new green jobs
by 2015 and another to achieve around 40 per cent low carbon electricity by 2020.
It describes the Labour Government as "revolutionising" Britain’s energy policy through investment in renewables, nuclear and clean fossil fuels – a £150 billion investment
, which it says it will secure through a speedier planning system, reform of the regulatory system and the creation of a Green Investment Bank
Zero waste Britain
It promises to move towards a 'zero waste
’ Britain, banning recyclable and biodegradable materials from landfill.
It reiterates Labour’s pledge to legislate to introduce 'Pay As you Save’ financing schemes under which home energy improvements can be paid for from savings they generate on energy bills and it says it will regulate landlords so that privately rented accommodation is properly insulated.
It promises to protect biodiversity, sustaining the Green Belt and maintaining the target that 60 per cent of new development should be on brownfield land. It says Labour will introduce a new framework to manage land so that natural habitats and wildlife are protected and forest
and woodland are increased.
Also among its pledges are reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy and the creation of a Supermarkets Ombudsman to protect food
producers. And it says it is committed to supporting rural businesses and communities by investing in amenities and services.
Leading business group the CBI today welcomed Labour’s manifesto proposals to link a low carbon society with innovation and economic growth. "A growth agenda needs to be based in part on stimulating low carbon innovation, and the Labour Party has interesting ideas here," said John Cridland, director-general of the CBI.
But Friends of the Earth's executive director Andy Atkins attacked the manifesto, saying it fell short of the urgent action required to tackle climate change and help Britain reap the benefits of developing a low carbon economy.
"It fails to commit the UK to cutting its emissions by at least 42 per cent by 2020, which is needed to ensure this country plays its fair part in tackling global warming," he said. "Labour should have set the bar far higher on environmental issues."