Election 2019 – Party Policies on Energy & Climate

UK General Election

With the General Election on 12th December 2019 fast approaching, the pressure’s on for each party to get across its policies. So naturally, 2EA® have reviewed each of the main party’s manifesto and have provided a summary below of their views on UK energy and climate policy.

For this article, we are going to be looking at the forerunners of the election which are Labour, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats.

Conservatives 2019

The Conservative Party have stated that their Environment Bill will guarantee that they will protect and restore our natural environment after leaving the EU. 

They will set up a new independent Office For Environmental Protection and introduce their own legal targets, including targets for air quality.  

The Conservatives offer to invest in nature, helping us to reach our Net Zero target with a £640 million new Nature for Climate fund. Building on their support for creating a Great Northumberland Forest, they promise to reach an additional 75,000 acres of trees a year by the end of the next Parliament, as well as restoring our peatland.

They promise to welcome the Glover Review and will create new National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as well as making our most loved landscapes greener, happier, healthier and open to all. They also say they will make the coast-to-coast path across the most beautiful areas of the North a National Trail.

The Conservative party say they will continue to lead the world in tackling plastics pollution, both in the UK and internationally, and will introduce a new levy to increase the proportion of recyclable plastics in packaging. They will introduce extended producer responsibility, so that producers pay the full costs of dealing with the waste they produce, and boost domestic recycling. They will ban the export of plastic waste to non-OECD countries, consulting with industry, NGOs and local councils on the date by which this should be achieved.

They promise to crack down on the waste and carelessness that destroys our natural environment and kills marine life and will increase penalties for fly-tipping, make those on community sentences clean up their parks and streets, and introduce a deposit return scheme to incentivise people to recycle plastic and glass.

They have explicitly stated that they “will make no changes to the Hunting Act”.

Climate Change

The Conservative Party plan to lead the global fight against climate change by delivering on our world-leading target of Net-Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as advised by the independent Committee on Climate Change. They report that they have doubled International Climate Finance and that they will use their position hosting the UN Climate Change Summit in Glasgow in 2020 to ask our global partners to match our ambition.

They offer to set up new international partnerships to tackle deforestation and protect vital landscapes and wildlife corridors. They will establish a new £500 million Blue Planet Fund to help protect our oceans from plastic pollution, warming sea temperatures and overfishing, and extend the Blue Belt programme to preserve the maritime environment. They say they will continue to lead diplomatic efforts to protect 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by 2030.

They say their first Budget will prioritise the environment: investing in R&D; decarbonisation schemes; new flood defences, which will receive £4 billion in new funding over the coming years; electric vehicle infrastructure including a national plug-in network and gigafactory; and clean energy.

Renewable Energy

They plan to help our World-leading offshore wind industry to reach 40GW by 2030 and will enable new floating wind farms.

They offer to invest £800 million to build the first fully deployed carbon capture storage cluster by the mid-2020s.

They will also invest £500 million to help energy-intensive industries move to low-carbon techniques.

Thy will support gas for hydrogen production and nuclear energy, including fusion, as important parts of the energy system, alongside increasing our commitment to renewables.

They have placed a moratorium on fracking in England with immediate effect. Having listened to local communities, they have ruled out changes to the planning system and will not support fracking unless the science shows categorically that it can be done safely.

They claim they will help lower energy bills by investing £9.2 billion in the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals.


We will support clean transport to ensure clean air, as well as setting strict new laws on air quality and will consult on the earliest date by which they can phase out the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars. 

Labour 2019

Economy and Energy

Labour will create a Sustainable Investment Board to bring together the Chancellor, Business Secretary and Bank of England Governor to oversee, co-ordinate and bring forward this investment – involving trade unions and business. They will ask the Office for Budget Responsibility to incorporate climate and environmental impacts into its forecasts so that the cost of not acting will be factored into every fiscal decision.

Labour will launch a National Transformation Fund of £400 billion and rewrite the Treasury’s investment rules to guarantee that every penny spent is compatible with our climate and environmental targets.

They will create a National Investment Bank, backed up by a network of Regional Development Banks, to provide £250 billion of lending for enterprise, infrastructure and innovation over 10 years.

Labour plans to ensure that the UK’s financial sector is helping to tackle the emergency rather than fuelling it. They will do this by improving the fitness of our financial authorities to mobilise green investment and by giving them powers to manage the risk to financial stability posed by short-sighted investment in polluting assets.

They will change the criteria a company must meet to be listed on the London Stock Exchange so that any company that fails to contribute to tackling the climate and environmental emergency is delisted.

Renewable Energy

Energy use in buildings accounts for 56% of the UK’s total emissions, making it the single most polluting sector. Therefore, they will develop the recommendations of our ‘30 by 2030’ report to put the UK on track for a net-zero-carbon energy system within the 2030s – and go faster if credible pathways can be found. They will deliver nearly 90% of electricity and 50% of heat from renewable and low-carbon sources by 2030.

They plan to build:

  • 7,000 new offshore wind turbines.
  • 2,000 new onshore wind turbines.
  • Enough solar panels to cover 22,000 football pitches.
  • New nuclear power needed for energy security.

Labour will trial and expand tidal energy and invest to reduce the costs of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen production. They will upgrade almost all of the UK’s 27 million homes to the highest energy-efficiency standards, reducing the average household energy bill by £417 per household per year by 2030 and eliminating fuel poverty. We will introduce a zero-carbon homes standard for all new homes.

As part of heat decarbonisation, they will roll out technologies like heat pumps, solar hot water and hydrogen, and invest in district heat networks using waste heat.

To balance the grid, they will expand power storage and invest in grid enhancements and interconnectors.

The Labour party will expand distributed and community energy, and immediately and permanently ban fracking.

Conventional Energy

They will support energy workers through transition and guarantee them retraining and a new, unionised job on equivalent terms and conditions.

They will introduce a windfall tax on oil companies so that the companies that knowingly damaged our climate will help cover the costs. They will also provide a strategy to safeguard the people, jobs and skills that depend on the offshore oil and gas industry.

Labour will put people and planet before profit by bringing our energy and water systems into democratic public ownership. In public hands, energy and water will be treated as rights rather than commodities, with any surplus reinvested or used to reduce bills. Communities themselves will decide, because utilities won’t be run from Whitehall but by service-users and workers.

Under Labour’s plans:

  • A new UK National Energy Agency will own and maintain the national grid infrastructure and oversee the delivery of their decarbonisation targets.
  • 14 new Regional Energy Agencies will replace the existing district network operators and hold statutory responsibility for decarbonising electricity and heat and reducing fuel poverty.
  • The supply arms of the Big Six energy companies will be brought into public ownership where they will continue to supply households with energy while helping them to reduce their energy demands.
  • Labour will take full responsibility for our carbon footprint instead of passing the buck. They will instruct the Committee on Climate Change to assess the emissions the UK imports as well as those it produces, and recommend policies to tackle them, including making UK industry the greenest in the world.

Labour will create an innovation nation, setting a target for 3% of GDP to be spent on research and development (R&D) by 2030. They will achieve this target by increasing direct support for R&D and reforming the innovation ecosystem to better ‘crowd in’ private investment.

They will establish a Foundation Industries Sector Council to provide a clean and long-term future for our existing heavy industries like steel and glass and fund R&D into newer technologies like hydrogen and carbon capture and storage.

They will ensure that new technologies aren’t just invented here, but are engineered, manufactured and exported from here. They will put British innovation at the heart of their procurement to support local sourcing and reshoring so that every investment they make strengthens our manufacturing and engineering sectors and supply chains and creates hundreds of thousands of good, unionised jobs here at home.

As we transition, they will ensure the UK’s automotive sector isn’t left behind by the electric revolution by investing in three new gigafactories and four metal reprocessing plants. By supporting UK-made electrical steel, they will ensure robust support for an end to end UK supply chain. They will also take on the global plastics crisis by investing in a new plastics remanufacturing industry creating thousands of jobs, ending exports of plastic waste and reducing our contribution to ocean pollution


Labour will promote the use of rail freight in order to reduce carbon emissions, air pollutants and congestion on the roads and expand the provision of publicly owned rail freight services.

Their transport programme is focused on creating better, publicly accessible local transport systems. By improving public transport, Labour will help people to become less reliant on their cars, for our better health, for a cleaner environment and to improve the quality of life in our towns and cities. The Conservatives have committed to ending new sales of combustion engine vehicles by 2040; Labour will aim for 2030.

Labour plan to position the UK at the forefront of the development and manufacture of ultra-low emission vehicles and will support their sale. They will invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and in electric community car clubs. They will accelerate the transition of our public sector car fleets and our public buses to zero-emissions vehicles.


Labour will review and improve protected area designations, from National Parks to local nature reserves and urban green spaces.

They will introduce a Climate and Environment Emergency Bill setting out in law robust, binding new standards for decarbonisation, nature recovery, environmental quality and habitats and species protection.

They will maintain and continuously improve the existing EU standards of environmental regulation.

Labour will introduce a new Clean Air Act, with a vehicle scrappage scheme and clean air zones, complying with World Health Organisation limits for fine particles and nitrous oxides.

They will provide an extra £5.6 billion in funding to improve the standard of flood defences and respond to the increased risk of flooding, prioritising areas at risk in North West England, Yorkshire and the East Midlands that have been neglected by Conservative investments.

They will embark on an ambitious programme of tree planting, with both forestry and native woodland species and will fully fund the Environment Agency and other frontline environment agencies, and improve upstream river management.

Labour offer to create new National Parks alongside a revised system of other protected area designations, which will guard existing wildlife sites and join up important habitats, while also ensuring more people can enjoy living closer to nature.

They will establish a new environmental tribunal to ensure that administrative decisions are consistent with environmental and nature-recovery obligations.

A Labour government will maintain agricultural and rural structural funds but repurpose them to support environmental land management and sustainable methods of food production.

They will invest in more county farms to replace those lost and will work with agricultural organisations to increase access into farming for new entrants.

Waste, including plastic waste, pollutes our land and seas, killing wildlife and contaminating our food. Labour will make producers responsible for the waste they create and for the full cost of recycling or disposal, encouraging more sustainable design and manufacturing. In government in Wales, Labour has transformed the position of recycling, placing them in the top five globally for recycling rates. A UK Labour government will learn from Wales’ example, and will also back bottle-return schemes.

Labour will also invest in three new recyclable steel plants in areas with a proud history of steel manufacturing.

Liberal Democrats 2019

The liberal Democrats say their first priorities in the next parliament will be:

  • An emergency programme to insulate all of Britain’s homes by 2030, cutting emissions and fuel bills and ending fuel poverty.
  • Investing in renewable power so that at least 80 per cent of UK electricity is generated from renewables by 2030 – and banning fracking for good.
  • Protecting nature and the countryside, tackling biodiversity loss and planting 60 million trees a year to absorb carbon, protect wildlife and improve health.
  • Investing in public transport, electrifying Britain’s railways and ensuring that all new cars are electric by 2030.

Climate Action Now

The Lib Dems will Require all companies registered in the UK and listed on UK stock exchanges to set targets consistent with the Paris Agreement on climate change and to report on their implementation, and establish a general corporate duty of care for the environment and human rights.

They will regulate financial services to encourage green investments, including requiring pension funds and managers to show that their portfolio investments are consistent with the Paris Agreement and creating new powers for regulators to act if banks and other investors are not managing climate risks properly.

They plan to establish a Department for Climate Change and Natural Resources, appoint a cabinet-level Chief Secretary for Sustainability in the Treasury to coordinate government-wide action to make the economy sustainable resource-efficient and zero-carbon, and require every government agency to account for its contribution towards meeting climate targets.

They want to establish UK and local Citizens’ Climate Assemblies to engage the public in tackling the climate emergency and create a statutory duty on all local authorities to produce a Zero Carbon Strategy, including plans for local energy, transport and land use, and devolve powers and funding to enable every council to implement it. 

They guarantee an Office of Environmental Protection that is fully independent of government and possesses powers and resources to enforce compliance with climate and environmental targets.

They also want to increase government expenditure on climate and environmental objectives, reaching at least five per cent of the total within five years.

The Lib Dems will support investment and innovation in zero-carbon and resource-efficient infrastructure and technologies by creating a new Green Investment Bank and increasing funding for Innovate UK and new Catapult innovation and technology centres on farming and land use and on carbon dioxide removal.

They will implement the UK’s G7 pledge to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 and provide Just Transition funding for areas and communities negatively affected by the transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Renewable Energy

The Liberal Democrats plan to Accelerate the deployment of renewable power, providing more funding, removing the Conservatives’ restrictions on solar and wind and building more interconnectors to guarantee security of supply; they aim to reach at least 80 per cent renewable electricity in the UK by 2030.

They want to expand community and decentralised energy, support councils to develop local electricity generation and require all new homes to be fitted with solar panels.

They will ban fracking because of its negative impacts on climate change, the energy mix and the local environment.

They will Support investment and innovation in cutting-edge energy technologies, including tidal and wave power, energy storage, demand response, smart grids and hydrogen.

They want to provide an additional £12 billion over five years to support these commitments and ensure that the National Infrastructure Commission, National Grid, the energy regulator Ofgem, and the Crown Estate work together to deliver our net-zero climate objective.

Warm Homes and Lower Energy Bills

The Lib Dem plan to cut energy bills, end fuel poverty by 2025 and reduce emissions from buildings, including by providing free retrofits for low-income homes, piloting a new subsidised Energy-Saving Homes scheme, graduating Stamp Duty Land Tax by the energy rating of the property and reducing VAT on home insulation.

They want to empower councils to develop community energy-saving projects, including delivering housing energy efficiency improvements street by street, which cuts costs.

They will require all new homes and non-domestic buildings to be built to a zero-carbon standard (where as much energy is generated on-site, through renewable sources, as is used), by 2021, rising to a more ambitious (‘Passivhaus’) standard by 2025.

They will increase minimum energy efficiency standards for privately rented properties and remove the cost cap on improvements.

They want to adopt a Zero-Carbon Heat Strategy, including reforming the Renewable Heat Incentive, requiring the phased installation of heat pumps in homes and businesses of the gas grid, and piloting projects to determine the best future mix of zero-carbon heating solutions

Green Industry, Green Jobs and Green Products

The Libe Dems want to reduce emissions from industrial processes by supporting carbon capture and storage and new low-carbon processes for cement and steel production.

They will provide more advice to companies on cutting emissions, support the development of regional industrial clusters for zero-carbon innovation and increase the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund.

They will also expand the market for green products and services with steadily higher green criteria in public procurement policy and end support from UK Export Finance for fossil fuel-related activities, and press for higher environmental standards for export credit agencies throughout the OECD.

They plan on banning non-recyclable single-use plastics and replace them with affordable alternatives, aiming for their complete elimination within three years, as a first step towards ending the ‘throwaway society’ culture and have the ambition to end plastic waste exports by 2030.

They want to benefit consumers through better product design for repairability, reuse and recycling, including extending the forthcoming EU ‘right to repair’ legislation for consumer goods, so helping small repair businesses and community groups combat ‘planned obsolescence’.

They also want to introduce legally binding targets for reducing the consumption of key natural resources and other incentives for businesses to improve resource efficiency.

They will extend deposit return schemes for all food and drink bottles and containers, working with the devolved administrations to ensure consistency across the UK.

They will establish a statutory waste recycling target of 70 per cent in England, extend separate food waste collections to at least 90 per cent of homes by 2024, and strengthen incentives to reduce packaging and reduce waste sent to landfill and Incineration.

Saving Nature and the Countryside

The Liberal Democrats will introduce a Nature Act to restore the natural environment through setting legally binding near-term and long-term targets for improving water, air, soil and biodiversity, and supported by funding streams of at least £18 billion over five years.

They plan to combat climate change, and benefit nature and people, by coordinating the planting of 60 million trees a year and introducing requirements for the greater use of sustainably harvested wood in construction. 

They will Invest in large scale restoration of peatlands, heathland, native woodlands, salt marshes, wetlands and coastal waters, helping to absorb carbon, protect against foods, improve water quality and protect habitats, including through piloting ‘rewilding’ approaches.

They will reduce basic agricultural support payments to the larger recipients and redeploy the savings to support the public goods that come from effective land management, including restoring nature and protecting the countryside, preventing flooding and combating climate change through measures to increase soil carbon and expand native woodland.

They will introduce a National Food Strategy, including the use of public procurement policy, to promote the production and consumption of healthy, sustainable and affordable food and cut down on food waste. 

They will support producers by broadening the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator and supporting them with access to markets. 

They will significantly increase the amount of accessible green space, including protecting up to a million acres, completing the coastal path, exploring a ‘right to roam’ for waterways and creating a new designation of National Nature Parks.

They will protect and restore England’s lakes, rivers and wetlands, including through reform of water management and higher water efficiency standards, and establish a ‘blue belt’ of marine protected areas covering at least 50 per cent of UK waters by 2030, in partnership with UK overseas territories. 

They plan to create a new ‘British Overseas Ecosystems Fund’ for large-scale environmental restoration projects in the UK Overseas Territories and sovereign bases, home to 94 per cent of our unique wildlife.

The Lib Dems also want to establish a £5 billion fund for flood prevention and climate adaptation over the course of the parliament to improve flood defences and introduce high standards for flood resilience for buildings and infrastructure in flood risk areas.

They want to ensure that sustainability lies at the heart of fisheries policy, rebuilding depleted fish stocks to achieve their former abundance. Fishers, scientists and conservationists should all be at the centre of a decentralised and regionalised fisheries management system. Immigration policy should also be flexible enough to ensure that both the catching and processing sectors have access to the labour they need.

They will increase the budget for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ensuring that agencies such as Natural England and the Environment Agency are properly funded.

Improving Transport

The Liberal Democrats intend to investing in public transport, buses, trams and railways to enable people to travel more easily while reducing their impact on the environment and placing a far higher priority on encouraging walking and cycling – the healthiest forms of transport.

They want to accelerate the transition to ultra-low-emission transport – cars, buses and trains – through taxation, subsidy and regulation Clean and Green and accelerate the rapid take-up of electric vehicles by reforming vehicle taxation, cutting VAT on EVs to 5 per cent and increasing the rate of installation of charging points, including residential on-street points and ultra-fast chargers at service stations. They will ensure that, by 2030, every new car and small van sold is electric.

They will pass a Clean Air Act, based on World Health Organisation guidelines, enforced by a new Air Quality Agency. The Act will enshrine the legal right to unpolluted air wherever you live.

They want to extend Ultra-Low Emission Zones to ten more towns and cities in England and ensure that all private hire vehicles and new buses licensed to operate in urban areas are ultra-low-emission or zero-emission vehicles by 2025; they will provide £2 billion to support this transformation.

The Libe Dems also want to shift more freight from road to rail, including electrifying lines leading from major ports as an urgent priority and amend the current HGV road user levy to take carbon emissions into account.

They will support innovation in zero-emission technologies, including batteries and hydrogen fuel cells, supplementing government funding with a new Clean Air Fund from industry.

They will aim to reduce the climate impact of flying by reforming the taxation of international fights to focus on those who fly the most while reducing costs for those who take one or two international return fights per year, placing a moratorium on the development of new runways (net) in the UK, opposing any expansion of Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted and any new airport in the Thames Estuary, and introducing a zero-carbon fuels blending requirement for domestic flights.

Reducing the Need for Car Travel

The Lib Dems want to give new powers to local authorities and communities to improve transport in their areas, including the ability to introduce network-wide ticketing, like in London. They also want to implement, in cooperation with local authorities, light rail schemes for trams and tram-trains where these are appropriate solutions to public transport requirements.

They will restore bus routes and add new routes where there is local need; they plan to provide £4.5 billion over five years for this programme.

They want to introduce a nationwide strategy to promote walking and cycling, including the creation of dedicated safe cycling lanes, increasing spending per head five-fold to reach 10 per cent of the transport budget.

They also want to build on the successful Local Sustainable Transport Fund established by the Liberal Democrats when in government, and workplace travel plans, to reduce the number of cars – particularly single-occupancy cars – used for commuting, and encourage the development of car-sharing schemes and car clubs and autonomous vehicles for public use.

Global Climate Action Now

The Liberal Democrats will support the Paris Agreement by playing a leadership role in international efforts to combat climate change, demonstrating commitment by rapidly reducing emissions from the UK economy, increasing development spending on climate objectives and aiming to persuade all countries to commit to net-zero climate goals by the 2020 UN climate conference in Glasgow.

They will use their role in the EU to tackle the climate emergency, by setting a binding, EU-wide net-zero target of 2050, and continuing to take part in the EU’s Internal Energy Market, to provide access to clean energy sources while keeping costs low.

They will strengthen climate and environmental goals in EU trade and investment agreements and refuse to enter any trade agreements with countries that have policies counter to the Paris Agreement, including the Mercosur-EU free trade agreement because of the Brazilian government’s actions in the Amazon.

They will also initiate negotiations within the UN for a legally binding international treaty on plastics reduction.

They want to provide greater resources for international environmental cooperation, particularly on climate change and on actions to tackle illegal and unsustainable trade in timber, wildlife, ivory, and fish.

They will argue for an end to all fossil fuel subsidies worldwide and provide aid to developing countries to help them transition to clean sources of energy.

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