Election 2024 – Party Policies on Energy & Climate

With the General Election on 4th July 2024 fast approaching, the pressure’s on for each party to get across its policies. As with the past 3 general elections, we have reviewed each of the main party’s manifesto and provided a summary of their energy and climate policies.

For this edition, we are looking at the forerunners of the election which are the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Reform UK. These are listed in alphabetical order. 

The Conservatives

Delivering energy security

The Conservatives will legislate to ensure annual licensing rounds for oil and gas production from the North Sea to provide energy to homes and businesses across the country and protect high-skilled and well-paid jobs in the industry. . 

In 2022, the Conservatives introduced a windfall tax on oil and gas companies to ensure they pay their fair share of tax from extraordinary profits while prices remain abnormally high. The Conservatives will keep this in place until 2028-29, unless prices fall back to normal sooner. In total, this is expected to raise over £26 billion. The conservatives will maintain the investment allowances that provide incentives to invest in the North Sea.

The Conservatives will back up renewables and prevent the prospect of blackouts with new gas power stations to maintain a safe and reliable energy source for days when the weather doesn’t power up renewables. 

In the next Parliament the Conservatives will:

  • Treble offshore wind capacity, to deliver low-cost, home-grown energy and support the development of vibrant industrial clusters in places like the North East of England, Scotland and Wales. 
  • Build the first two carbon capture and storage clusters, based across North Wales and, the North West of England and Teesside and the Humber, cutting carbon and creating tens of thousands of jobs in these regions, and progress the second tranche of projects in Aberdeenshire and the Humber. 
  • Invest £1.1 billion into the Green Industries Growth Accelerator to support British manufacturing capabilities, boost supply chains and ensure the energy transition is made in Britain.
  • Scale up nuclear power, building on their work establishing Great British Nuclear. Within the first 100 days of the next Parliament, the Conservatives will approve two new fleets of Small Modular Reactors to rapidly expand nuclear power. The Conservatives will halve the time it takes for new nuclear reactors to be approved, by allowing regulators to assess projects while designs are being finalised, improving join-up with overseas regulators assessing the same technology and speeding up planning and environmental approvals. 
  • Deliver a new gigawatt power plant at Wylfa in North Wales and work with industry to deliver existing projects at Hinkley Point and Sizewell. 
  • The Conservatives will ensure offshore cables help reduce the amount of onshore infrastructure, such as substations, that need to be built. 

The Conservatives will take steps to ensure the technology and infrastructure is made in the UK. They will provide a bonus, on top of contract payments that support offshore wind, to reward energy firms that invest in manufacturing in the most disadvantaged places in the UK or invest in more sustainable supply chains, creating more good jobs as the countries get more energy from renewables. 

The Conservatives state they are strong supporters of domestic steel production and have introduced effective safeguards against steel that is heavily subsidised by foreign governments and helped public projects procure more UK-made steel. They agreed a £500 million grant as part of a £1.25 billion commitment by Tata Steel to transform and secure a sustainable future at their Port Talbot works. They will continue working to support production in Scunthorpe and the North East of England, securing the future of steelmaking across the UK. 

The Conservatives will implement a new import carbon pricing mechanism by 2027 to ensure that imports of iron, steel, aluminium, ceramics and cement from countries with a lower or no carbon price will face a comparable carbon price to those goods produced in the UK. 

A pragmatic and proportionate approach to net zero

The Conservatives will cut the cost of tackling climate change for households and business, and deliver net zero by 2050, by: 

  • Ensuring that families are given time to make changes that affect their lives and never forcing people to rip out their existing boiler and replace it with a heat pump.
  • Guaranteeing a vote in the next Parliament on the next stage of their pathway, with adoption of any new target accompanied by proper consideration of the plans and policies required to meet the target, to maintain democratic consent for the big decisions that net zero will mean for the country.
  • Ensuring that green levies on household bills are lower. They will ensure the annual policy costs and levies on household energy bills are lower in each year of the next Parliament than they were in 2023.
  • Reforming the Climate Change Committee, giving it an explicit mandate to consider cost to households and UK energy security in its future climate advice.
  • Ruling out creating further green levies, and alongside their commitment not to introduce road pricing schemes. They will also rule out any frequent flyer levy.

According to the Conservatives energy bills are falling. They will take further action to ensure they are low as possible for families, by:

  • Maintaining the energy price cap, protecting millions of households from being overcharged by their supplier. As the energy market advances, the price cap will need to evolve and they will ensure the regulator has the necessary powers to continue protecting consumers.
  • Reviewing and reforming standing charges to keep them as low as possible.
  • Delivering their Pumpwatch scheme that will force petrol retailers to share live information on their prices, helping drivers to get a fair price at the pump. 
  • Introducing more efficient local markets for electricity, which expert analysis estimates would save £20 – £45 per household per year.  
  • Giving households the choice of smart energy tariffs, which can save them £900 a year.  
  • Implementing the recommendations of the Winser Review, ensuring networks are able to buy forward with confidence and cutting waiting times to get a grid connection to deliver an estimated saving of £15 – £25 per household per year out to 2035. 
  • Recognising technological developments over the last decade, they will undertake a rapid review into the advantages of alternative network technologies, compared to overhead pylons. The review will consider moving to a presumption in favour of undergrounding where cost competitive. 

Almost half of homes in England are now energy efficiency Band C, up from just one in seven in 2010. They will invest £6 billion in energy efficiency over the next three years to make around a million homes warmer. And they will fund an energy efficiency voucher scheme, open to every household in England, to support the installation of energy efficiency measures and solar panels. 

They will ensure democratic consent for onshore wind, striking the right balance between energy security and the views of their local communities. Their updated National Planning Policy Framework seeks to ensure local areas that host onshore wind directly benefit, including potentially through energy bill discounts.

They will support solar in the right places, not on the best agricultural land. They have changed planning rules to protect the best agricultural land with a presumption that this is used for food production, while also making it easier for solar to be located on brownfield sites and on rooftops. Their new planning rules also prevent multiple solar farms being clustered in one area to help protect rural landscapes. They will retain the current moratorium on fracking.

To continue backing farmers, they will: 

  • Increase the UK-wide farming budget by £1 billion over the Parliament, ensuring it rises by inflation in every year. Farmers will be able to spend every extra penny on grants to boost domestic food production on top of maintaining the approach to Environmental Land Management Schemes. In England, nearly half of all farmers have now signed up to schemes, choosing what works best for their business to invest in food security and sustainable agriculture. They will build on work to date to ensure these schemes work for all farmers, from tenants to the uplands and beyond.
  • Continue to ringfence agricultural funding so it is passed directly on to farming and rural communities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland alongside a new UK-wide £20 million Farming Innovation Fund. 
  • Introduce a legally binding target to enhance food security. The target will apply UK-wide alongside the UK Food Security Index, the first of its kind, helping to determine where best to concentrate farming funds. This will also feed into the development of the Land Use Framework. 
  • Improve public sector procurement to deliver their goal that at least 50% of food expenditure is spent on food produced locally or to higher environmental production standards. 
  • Reform the planning system to deliver fast track permissions for the building of infrastructure on farms, such as glasshouses, slurry and grain stores, and small-scale reservoirs. 
  • Use significant investment in R&D to prioritise cutting-edge technology in areas such as fertiliser and vertical farming. 
  • Stick to their plan to support the agricultural sector with the labour it needs to maintain food security, while moving away from the reliance on seasonal migrant labour with a five-year visa tapered scheme, alongside clear investment in automation and promoting agri-food careers and skills. 
  • Always stand up for farmers when negotiating new trade deals. At the 2023 UK Farm to Fork Summit, an event which they will continue every year, they set out their commitments to ensure UK farming is at the heart of UK trade. They will continue to support UK agri-food and drink attachés in the embassies abroad, pioneering new markets and new opportunities for domestic food and drink industry. 

Championing the fishing sector

In 2024, the Conservatives secured quotas worth over £970 million for UK fishermen. They will go further to seek additional opportunities for inshore fleet in the 2026 negotiations, and ensure inshore voices are better heard by their representative bodies.

They will replicate the £100 million UK Seafood Fund to continue to support the sector to thrive. The fund could be used to invest in harbour and fish market upgrades, provide new equipment and technology for fish processing or to support the growing aquaculture sector. They will particularly concentrate funding on small and medium sized businesses and the inshore fishing fleet. Recognising competing pressure on marine space. They will also seek opportunities to back the inshore fleet when making marine planning decisions. 

Their plan to support rural ways of life and enhance the environment

The Conservatives will continue with their moratorium on deep sea mining and will ratify the Global Oceans Treaty early in the next Parliament. They have prioritised animal welfare, passing legislation to protect pets from harm whilst ensuring owners are responsible and cracking down on dangerous dogs such as XL Bullies. They remain committed to banning the import of hunting trophies and tackling puppy smuggling and livestock worrying. 

The Conservatives state water supply interruptions to customers have decreased five-fold and leakage has been cut by one-third since privatisation. Last year 90% of designated bathing waters were classified as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, up from 76% in 2010. That is why they set out an ambitious Plan for Water, bringing historic levels of transparency and investment, while keeping bill increases affordable for consumers. 

Their plan includes:

  • Working with the regulator to further hold companies to account, including banning executive bonuses if a company has committed a serious criminal breach. This will build on their legislation for unlimited fines. 
  • Extending the £50 water rebate for those in the South West across the Parliament.
  • Using fines from water companies to invest in river restoration projects, including linking up thriving habitats to multiply the benefits for wildlife and water quality. This will create a river recovery network, modelled on their nature recovery network, and create new destinations for people to enjoy across England. It will take a more local, tailored approach like the plan for the River Wye. 

They are sticking to their ambitious plan to plant more trees. The Conservatives will: 

  • Deliver their tree planting and peatland commitments through their Nature for Climate funding, and continuing their work to unlock private investment. 
  • Launch a new design competition for urban greening, focused on the new quarters they want to develop in Leeds, Cambridge and sites in inner London.
  • Cut red tape that holds back the planting of trees in the planning system. This will identify particularly suitable areas for tree planting where processes and permits will be streamlined. 
  • Deliver their commitment at COP28 to introduce forest risk commodities legislation early in the next Parliament, tackling the impact on illegal deforestation internationally.

The Conservatives state that spending time outdoors in nature can significantly benefit our health and wellbeing, especially for children. That is why they set an ambitious commitment for everyone to have access to nature within 15 minutes’ walk of where they live. 

To deliver this, the Conservatives will:

  • Designate the 11th National Park alongside investing to improve existing National Parks and protected landscapes.  
  • Use future rounds of the Landscape Recovery Scheme to support more local projects like the community-led schemes near Hadrian’s Wall as the area recovers from the vandalism at the Sycamore Gap. 
  • Continue to support programmes that encourage disadvantaged children and young people to access green spaces.  
  • Deliver their commitments on National Trails including the Coast to Coast Path and the King Charles III England Coast Path. 
  • Continue to work with landowners, charities and others to open up more ‘access to nature’ routes. They will not impose a universal Right to Roam. 


Labours second mission is to: 

Make Britain a clean energy superpower to cut bills, create jobs and deliver security with cheaper, zero-carbon electricity by 2030, accelerating to net zero

Labour have stated they will take decisive action to seize this economic opportunity. They will shape markets, and use public investment to crowd in private funding. At the heart of their approach will be the Green Prosperity Plan where, in partnership with business through the National Wealth Fund, they will invest in the industries of the future. Their plan will create 650,000 jobs across the country by 2030.

Clean power by 2030

Labor’s mission is to provide families and businesses with lower bills for good, from a zero carbon electricity system. To deliver this clean power mission, Labour will work with the private sector to double onshore wind, triple solar power, and quadruple offshore wind by 2030. They will invest in carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and marine energy, and ensure the country has the long-term energy storage it needs. 

A new Energy Independence Act will establish the framework for Labour’s energy and climate policies. 

Labour will ensure the long-term security of the sector, extending the lifetime of existing plants, and will get Hinkley Point C over the line. New nuclear power stations, such as Sizewell C, and Small Modular Reactors, will play an important role in helping the UK achieve energy security and clean power while securing thousands of good, skilled jobs. Labour will maintain a strategic reserve of gas power stations to guarantee security of supply. 

They state they will ensure a phased and responsible transition in the North Sea that recognises the proud history of the country’s offshore industry and the brilliance of its workforce, particularly in Scotland and the North East of England, and the ongoing role of oil and gas in the country’s energy mix. 

They will embrace the future of energy production and storage which will make use of existing offshore infrastructure and the skills of an offshore workforce. Labour will not revoke existing licences and will partner with business and workers to manage existing fields for the entirety of their lifespan. 

Labour states that oil and gas production in the North Sea will be with us for decades to come, and the North Sea will be managed in a way that does not jeopardise jobs. And  offshore workers will lead the world in the industries of the future.

They will not issue new licences to explore new fields because these licences will not take a penny off bills, cannot make the country energy secure, and will only accelerate the worsening climate crisis. In addition, they will not grant new coal licences and will ban fracking for good. 

To support investment in this plan, Labour will close the loopholes in the windfall tax on oil and gas companies. Labour will therefore extend the sunset clause in the Energy Profits Levy until the end of the next parliament. They will also increase the rate of the levy by three percentage points, as well as removing the unjustifiably generous investment allowances. Labour will also retain the Energy Security Investment Mechanism. 

Switch on Great British Energy

To drive forward investment in clean, home-grown energy production, Labour will create a new publicly owned company, Great British Energy. It will be owned by the British people and deliver power back to the British people.

Great British Energy will partner with industry and trade unions to deliver clean power by co-investing in leading technologies; will help support capital-intensive projects; and will deploy local energy production to benefit communities across the country. To support this, Labour will capitalise Great British Energy with £8.3 billion, over the next parliament.

The company will create jobs and build supply chains in every corner of the UK. Scotland will be the powerhouse of this clean energy mission, with Great British Energy headquartered there.

Local power generation is an essential part of the energy mix and reduces pressures on the transmission grid. Labour will deploy more distributed production capacity through their Local Power Plan. Great British Energy will partner with energy companies, local authorities, and co-operatives to install thousands of clean power projects, through a combination of onshore wind, solar, and hydropower projects. They will invite communities to come forward with projects, and work with local leaders and devolved governments to ensure local people benefit directly from this energy production.

Energy system reform 

Labour will ensure a much tougher system of regulation that puts consumers first and attracts the investment needed to cut bills. Labour state that too much of the burden of the bill is on standing charges and they will work with the regulator to reduce them. They will strengthen the regulator to ensure it can hold companies to account for wrongdoing, require higher standards of performance, and ensure there is automatic customer compensation for failure.

The national grid has become the single biggest obstacle to the deployment of cheap, clean power generation and the electrification of industry. With grid connection dates not being offered until the late 2030s, important business and infrastructure investment is being stalled or lost overseas. Labour will work with industry to upgrade the country’s national transmission infrastructure and rewire Britain. 

High-quality jobs 

As Britain becomes a clean energy superpower, Labour is determined that it will create new high-quality jobs, working with business and trade unions, as they manage the transition. They will rebuild supply chains at home. And, as the first major economy to transition to a clean-energy system, they will export the technologies of the future. 

Labour’s National Wealth Fund will directly invest in ports, hydrogen and industrial clusters in every corner of the country. They will also secure the future of Britain’s automotive and steel industries.

They will reward clean energy developers with a British Jobs Bonus, allocating up to £500 million per year from 2026, to incentivise firms who offer good jobs, terms and conditions and build their manufacturing supply chains in industrial heartlands, coastal areas, and energy communities.

Labour will end the injustice of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme. They will review the unfair surplus arrangements and transfer the Investment Reserve Fund back to members, so that the mineworkers who powered the country receive a fairer pension.

Warm homes plan

Labour will invest an extra £6.6 billion over the next parliament, doubling the existing planned government investment, to upgrade five million homes to cut bills for families. 

The Warm Homes Plan will offer grants and low interest loans to support investment in insulation and other improvements such as solar panels, batteries and low carbon heating to cut bills. They will partner with combined authorities, local and devolved governments, to roll out this plan. Labour will also work with the private sector, including banks and building societies, to provide further private finance to accelerate home upgrades and low carbon heating. They will ensure homes in the private rented sector meet minimum energy efficiency standards by 2030, saving renters hundreds of pounds per year.

Labour will save families hundreds of pounds, slash fuel poverty, and get Britain back on track to meet climate targets. 

Accelerating to net zero

Labour state British industry is also held back by high electricity costs, which has often made investing here uncompetitive. Labour’s clean energy mission will drive down those bills, making British businesses internationally competitive while their National Wealth Fund supports the most energy intensive sectors to decarbonise.

Labour supports the introduction of a carbon border adjustment mechanism. This will protect British industries as the country decarbonises, prevent countries from dumping lower-quality goods into British markets, and support the UK to meet its climate objectives.

Labour will ensure the institutional framework for policy making reflects their commitments to reach net zero and meet carbon budgets. The Conservatives’ decision to prevent the Bank of England giving due consideration to climate change in its mandates will be reversed. 

Labour will make the UK the green finance capital of the world, mandating UK-regulated financial institutions – including banks, asset managers, pension funds, and insurers – and FTSE 100 companies to develop and implement credible transition plans that align with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.  

Improving resilience

Labour will improve resilience and preparation across central government, local authorities, local communities, and emergency services. This includes formally working with all stakeholders in the Fire and Rescue services to inform policy and establish national standards.

Protecting nature

Labour will deliver for nature, taking action to meet the country’s Environment Act targets, and will work in partnership with civil society, communities and business to restore and protect the country’s natural world. 

As part of their plans to improve responsible access to nature, Labour will create nine new National River Walks, one in each region of England, and establish three new National Forests in England, whilst planting millions of trees and creating new woodlands. Labour will expand nature-rich habitats such as wetlands, peat bogs and forests so families can explore and wildlife can thrive, including on public land. Labour is committed to reducing waste by moving to a circular economy.

Clean water

Labour will put failing water companies under special measures to clean up the country’s water. They will give regulators new powers to block the payment of bonuses to executives who pollute waterways and bring criminal charges against persistent law breakers. They will impose automatic and severe fines for wrongdoing and ensure independent monitoring of every outlet.

Supporting British farmers

Labour recognises that food security is national security. That is why they will champion British farming whilst protecting the environment. They will set a target for half of all food purchased across the public sector to be locally produced or certified to higher environmental standards. They will introduce a land-use framework and make environment land management schemes work for farmers and nature. And they will work with farmers and scientists on measures to eradicate Bovine TB, protecting livelihoods, so that farmers can end the ineffective badger cull.

Stronger animal welfare

Labour will improve animal welfare. They will ban trail hunting and the import of hunting trophies. They will end puppy smuggling and farming, along with the use of snare traps. And they will partner with scientists, industry, and civil society as they work towards the phasing out of animal testing.

Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats are committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045 at the latest.

The Liberal Democrats will: 

  • Make homes warmer and cheaper to heat with a ten-year emergency upgrade programme, starting with free insulation and heat pumps for those on low incomes, and ensure that all new homes are zero-carbon.
  • Drive a rooftop solar revolution by expanding incentives for households to install solar panels, including a guaranteed fair price for electricity sold back into the grid.
  • Invest in renewable power so that 90% of the UK’s electricity is generated from renewables by 2030.
  • Appoint a Chief Secretary for Sustainability in the Treasury to ensure that the economy is sustainable, resource-efficient and zero-carbon, establish a new Net Zero Delivery Authority to coordinate action across government departments and work with devolved administrations, and hand more powers and resources to local councils for local net zero strategies.
  • Establish national and local citizens’ assemblies to give people real involvement in the decisions needed to tackle climate change.
  • Restore the UK’s role as a global leader on climate change, by returning international development spending to 0.7% of national income, with tackling climate change a key priority for development spending.

Take the action needed now to achieve net zero by 2045, including:

  • Meeting the UK’s commitment under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions by at least 68% from 1990 levels by 2030.
  • Requiring the National Infrastructure Commission to take fully into account the environmental implications of all national infrastructure decisions.
  • Putting tackling climate change at the heart of a new industrial strategy
  • Investing in education and training to equip people with the skills needed for the low-carbon economy of the future
  • Ensuring that nature-based solutions, including tree planting, form a critical part of the UK’s strategy to tackle climate change
  • Putting the country’s farming and food system on an environmentally sustainable footing
  • Making it cheaper and easier to switch to electric vehicles, restoring the requirement that every new car and small van sold from 2030 is zero emission, investing in active travel and public transport, electrifying Britain’s railways, and reducing the climate impact of flying
  • Coordinating action across the UK by creating a Joint Climate Council of the Nations

Cut energy bills and emissions, and end fuel poverty, by:

  • Launching an emergency Home Energy Upgrade programme, with free insulation and heat pumps for low-income households and a central role for local authorities in delivering this programme.
  • Providing incentives for installing heat pumps that cover the real costs.
  • Immediately requiring all new homes and non-domestic buildings to be built to a zero-carbon standard, including being fitted with solar panels, and progressively increasing standards as technology improves.
  • Reintroducing requirements for landlords to upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties to EPC C or above by 2028.
  • Introducing a new subsidised Energy-Saving Homes scheme, with pilots to find the most effective combination of tax incentives, loans and grants, together with advice and support.
  • Introducing a social tariff for the most vulnerable to provide targeted energy discounts for vulnerable households
  • Helping people with the cost of living and their energy bills by implementing a proper, one-off windfall tax on the super-profits of oil and gas producers and traders.
  • Decoupling electricity prices from the wholesale gas price.
  • Eliminating unfair regional differences in domestic energy bills.

Accelerate the deployment of renewable power and deliver energy security by:

  • Removing the Conservatives’ unnecessary restrictions on new solar and wind power, and supporting investment and innovation in tidal and wave power in particular.
  • Maintaining the ban on fracking and introducing a ban on new coal mines.
  • Building the grid infrastructure required, facilitated by a strategic Land and Sea Use Framework.
  • Implementing the UK’s G7 pledge to end fossil fuel subsidies, while ensuring a just transition that values the skills and experience of people working in the oil and gas industry and provides good opportunities for them, and takes special care of the regions and communities most affected.
  • Investing in energy storage, including green hydrogen, pumped storage and battery capability.
  • Working together with European neighbours to build a sustainable supply chain for renewable energy technology.
  • Building more electricity interconnectors between the UK and other countries to guarantee security of supply, located carefully to avoid disruption to local communities and minimise environmental damage.

Support the expansion of community and decentralised energy, including:

  • Empowering local authorities to develop local renewable electricity generation and storage strategies.
  • Giving small low-carbon generators the right to export their electricity to an existing electricity supplier on fair terms.
  • Requiring large energy suppliers to work with community schemes to sell the power they generate to local customers.
  • Reducing access costs for grid connections.
  • Reforming the energy network to permit local energy grids.
  • Guaranteeing that community benefit funds receive a fair share of the wealth generated by local renewables infrastructure.

Restore the UK’s role as a global leader on climate change by:

  • Restoring international development spending to 0.7% of national income, with tackling climate change a key priority for development spending.
  • Showing leadership on the Paris Agreement by meeting the UK’s nationally Determined Contribution and arguing for greater global ambition.
  • Working together with European neighbours to tackle the climate emergency, including by associating the UK Emissions Trading System with the EU ETS.
  • Continuing the UK’s support for the UN Loss and Damage Fund for countries particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, to ensure a just transition for all.
  • Pressing for all OECD countries to agree to end subsidies for foreign fossil fuel projects.

Hold businesses to account for their role in tackling climate change by:

  • Introducing a general duty of care for the environment.
  • Requiring all large companies listed on UK stock exchanges to set targets consistent with achieving the net zero goal, and to report on their progress.
  • Regulating financial services to encourage climate-friendly 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.

Support British industry to cut emissions by:

  • Setting out a clear and stable roadmap to net zero, repairing the damage done by Conservative U-turns and giving businesses the confidence to invest.
  • Expanding the market for climate-friendly products and services with steadily higher criteria in public procurement policy.
  • Implementing the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism for high-emission products, protecting UK businesses from unfair competition.
  • Reducing emissions from industrial processes by supporting carbon capture and storage and new low-carbon processes for cement and steel production.
  • Providing more advice to companies on cutting emissions, supporting the development of regional industrial clusters for zero-carbon innovation and increasing the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund.

Natural Environment

  • End the sewage scandal by transforming water companies into public benefit companies, banning bonuses for water bosses until discharges and leaks end, and replacing Ofwat with a tough new regulator with new powers to prevent sewage dumps.
  • Set meaningful and binding targets to stop the decline of the country’s natural environment and ‘double nature’ by 2050: doubling the size of the Protected Area Network, doubling the area of most important wildlife habitats, doubling the abundance of species and doubling woodland cover by 2050.
  • Plant at least 60 million trees a year, helping to restore woodland habitats, increase the use of sustainable wood in construction, and reach net zero.
  • Pass a Clean Air Act, based on World Health Organization guidelines, enforced by a new Air Quality Agency.
  • Strengthen the Office for Environmental Protection and provide more funding to the Environment Agency and Natural England to help protect the environment and enforce environmental laws.

Tackle the national scandal of sewage-polluted rivers, waterways and beaches, and make water companies work for people by:

  • Introducing a Sewage Tax on water company profits.
  • Enforcing existing laws to ensure that the storm overflows only function in exceptional circumstances.
  • Setting legally binding targets to prevent sewage dumping into bathing waters and highly sensitive nature sites by 2030.
  • Embracing nature-based solutions to tackle the problem of sewage dumping.
  • Strengthening the powers of local authorities to monitor the health of rivers, lakes and coastlines, restore the country’s natural environment and tackle climate change.
  • Introducing a ‘blue corridor’ programme for rivers, streams and lakes to ensure clean and healthy water and setting new ‘blue flag’ standards.
  • Improving the quantity and quality of bathing waters and sensitive nature sites with more regular and robust testing of water quality.
  • Giving local environmental groups a place on water companies’ boards.
  • Introducing a single social tariff for water bills to help eliminate water poverty within the next Parliament.
  • Implementing Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act to require sustainable drainage systems in new developments.
  • Mandating all water companies to publish accessible real-time data on any sewage they dump.

Ensure everyone has access to a healthy natural environment, regardless of where they live, by:

  • Significantly increasing 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.
  • Passing a new Environmental Rights Act, recognising everyone’s human right to a healthy environment and guaranteeing access to environmental justice.
  • Making sure that the UK has the highest environmental standards in the world.
  • Protecting at least 30% of land and sea areas by 2030 for nature’s recovery.
  • Working together with European neighbours to tackle the nature crisis, including applying to join the European Environment Agency.

Hold businesses to account for their responsibility to the environment by:

  • Introducing a general duty of care for the environment
  • Requiring large businesses to publish transition plans to become nature-positive across their activities and supply chains.
  • Introducing nature-related financial disclosure requirements for large businesses.

Make planning work for the country’s natural environment and ensure that developers pay their fair share by:

  • Ensuring new developments result in significant net gain for biodiversity, with up to a 100% net gain for large developments.
  • Introducing a strategic Land and Sea Use Framework to effectively balance competing demands on the country’s land and oceans.
  • Empowering Local Nature Recovery Strategies to identify a new Wild Belt for nature’s recovery.

Create a nature-positive economy, tackle plastic pollution and waste, and get Britain recycling by:

  • Introducing a deposit return scheme for food and drink bottles and containers, working with the devolved administrations to ensure consistency across the UK, learning the lessons from the difficulties with the Scottish scheme.
  • Aiming for the complete elimination of non-recyclable single-use plastics within three years and replacing them with affordable alternatives.
  • Working to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 through the UN High Seas Treaty and finalising a Global Plastics Treaty to cut plastic pollution worldwide.
  • Setting an ambition of ending plastic waste exports by 2030.

Ensure that nature-based solutions form a critical part of their strategy to tackle climate change by:

  • Restoring peatlands as a carbon store, and banning the use of horticultural peat and the routine burning of heather on peatlands.
  • Protecting and enhancing temperate rainforests.
  • Creating and restoring habitats like saltmarshes, mudflats and seagrass meadows to guard against coastal flooding and erosion and absorb carbon emissions.
  • Tackling ‘greenwashing’ by introducing new Blue Carbon and Soils Carbon Standards that are properly enforced and accredited.
  • Working with international partners to fight deforestation around the world.
  • Creating a real network of marine protected areas, ensuring that they are fully protected from damaging and destructive activities, protecting and restoring blue carbon and ensuring climate resilience at sea.

Food and Farming

The Liberal Democrats will: 

  • Introduce a holistic and comprehensive National Food Strategy to ensure food security, tackle rising food prices, end food poverty and improve health and nutrition.
  • Accelerate the rollout of the new Environmental Land Management schemes, properly funding it with an extra £1 billion a year to support profitable, sustainable and nature-friendly farming.
  • Maintain high health, environmental and animal welfare standards in food production and guarantee that all future trade deals will meet them too, ensuring that Britain’s farmers and food manufacturers are not put at an unfair disadvantage.
  • Give Britain’s farmers the ability to trade with European neighbours with minimal need for checks by negotiating comprehensive veterinary and plant health agreements.
  • Support farmers properly in restoring woodland, peatland and waterways, creating new natural flood protections and managing land to encourage species recovery and carbon storage, while producing food for the table.

In addition, they will give farmers and fishers a fair deal by:

  • Introducing a range of other ‘public money for public goods’ programmes, such as nature recovery, planting trees and protecting wildlife, contingent on farmers and land managers opting into an Environmental Land Management scheme.
  • Exploring additional funding options to ensure an intelligent transition to better farming practices.
  • Investing in rural and coastal infrastructure and services, including local abattoirs, so that communities are viable and can attract and retain workers, particularly from younger age groups.
  • Using public procurement policy to support the consumption of food produced to high standards of environmental and social sustainability, and which is nutritious, healthy and locally and seasonally sourced.
  • Renegotiating the Australia and New Zealand trade agreements in line with their objectives for health, environmental and animal welfare standards, withdrawing from them if that cannot be achieved.
  • Ensuring that sustainability lies at the heart of fisheries policy, rebuilding depleted fish stocks to achieve their former abundance, including a ban on bottom trawling in marine protected areas. Fishers, scientists and conservationists should all be at the centre of a decentralised and regionalised fisheries management system.

Strengthen the Groceries Code Adjudicator to protect consumers from unfair price rises and support producers.

Ensure farming and food system is on an environmentally sustainable footing by:

  • Ensuring farmers receive proper, independent advice about how to transition to new environmental farm payments schemes, with proper funding for advice services.
  • Supporting farmers to reduce the pollution of rivers, streams and lakes.
  • Working with and rewarding farmers to reduce the use of costly imported and environmentally harmful artificial fertilisers and pesticides, helping to protect bees and other pollinators.
  • Introducing a Research and Innovation Fund to support new and emerging technologies in the sector including the development of alternative proteins in which the UK can become a world leader.

Give consumers confidence in the food they eat by:

  • Providing local authorities with greater powers and resources to inspect and monitor food production.
  • Ensuring all imported food meets UK standards for health and welfare, and that goods are properly checked.
  • Introducing robust and clear-to-understand food labelling.

Ensure Britain continues to be a world leader in animal welfare and standards by:

  • Passing a comprehensive new Animal Welfare Bill to ensure the highest standards possible.
  • Ensuring that no animal product that would be illegal to produce in the UK can be sold here, including foie gras and food produced with antibiotic growth promoters.
  • Developing safe, effective, humane, and evidence-based ways of controlling bovine tuberculosis, including by investing to produce workable vaccines.
  • Improving standards of animal health and welfare in agriculture, including a ban on caged hens, and preventing unnecessarily painful practices in farming.
  • At least matching the EU’s stricter rules on preventative use of antibiotics, and introducing a comprehensive plan to tackle antimicrobial resistance in farm animals.

Reform UK

Cut Energy Taxes, Beat the Cost-of-Living Crisis

  • Save households over £500 per year. 
  • Lower fuel duty by 20p per litre for both residential and business users.
  • Scrap VAT on energy bills. Scrap environmental levies.
  • Scrap Net Zero and Related Subsidies. Reform UK states that ditching Net Zero could save the public sector over £30 billion per year for the next 25 years. 

Scrap Annual £10 Billion of Renewable Energy Subsidies 

  • Achieve this through equivalent taxes on them. Reform UK state bills have increased dramatically in line with the huge increase in renewables capacity over the last 15 years. 

Cheap, Secure Energy for Britain

  • Start fast-track licences of North Sea gas and oil. 
  • Grant shale gas licences on test sites for 2 years. 
  • Enable major production when safety is proven, with local compensation schemes. 

Thereafter: Cleaner Energy from New Technology 

  • Fast-track clean nuclear energy with new Small Modular Reactors, built in Britain.
  • Increase and incentivise ethical UK lithium mining for electric batteries, combined cycle gas turbines, clean synthetic fuel, tidal power and explore clean coal mining. 

Stop the War on Drivers

  • Legislate to ban ULEZ Clean Air Zones and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. 
  • Scrapping Net Zero means no more bans on petrol and diesel cars and no legal requirements for manufacturers to sell electric cars. 
  • They will keep the speed limit low where safety is critical. Otherwise, 20 MPH zones will be scrapped.

Tighter Regulation and New Ownership Model for Critical National Infrastructure 

  • Launch a new model that brings 50% of each utility into public ownership. 
  • The other 50% would be owned by UK pension funds, benefiting from new expertise and better management. They will ensure standing charges are capped to help low users and pensioners.

A Single Government Infrastructure Funding Stream 

  • Overhaul and merge the National Infrastructure Commission and the Infrastructure Bank. 
  • Scrap Net Zero objectives. 
  • Simplify the funding process to save time, cut waste, boost funding and accountability

Increase the Farming Budget to £3 Billion 

  • Focus on smaller farms.
  • Keep farmland in use. 
  • Bring young people into farming. 
  • Boost rural economy and culture. 
  • Increase innovation and diversification. 
  • Help farmers to farm, not pay them to leave or retire.

Scrap Climate-Related Farming Subsidies 

  • Productive land must be farmed, not be used for solar farms or rewilding. 
  • Replace current subsidies with direct payments. 
  • Stop Natural England from taking action that damages farmers.

Stop EU Fishers Taking UK Quotas 

  • End automatic access to UK waters. 
  • Every foreign fishing vessel must pay for a licence to gain access to the UK’s 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), as designated under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 
  • Stop Foreign Owners using British flags of convenience. 
  • Quota reforms needed to help small scale fishing. 

Ban Foreign Supertrawlers from UK Waters 

  • Extend the ban on pair trawling for bass beyond the South East and 12-mile territorial waters. 
  • Ban Dutch vessels from electric pulse fishing in Britain’s 200 mile EEZ.

Rebuild UK Fish Processing 

  • Tax and other incentives to ensure that all fish caught in British waters are landed and processed in the UK. 
  • Fish caught by foreign vessels in UK waters should also be landed and processed here when capacity allows. 

Revitalise the UK’s Fishing Fleet 

  • Tax incentives and vocational training to increase UK fishing fleets. Include fishing communities in policy making. 

Guarantee Sustainable Stocks 

  • Implement a ‘dynamic management system’. Work with national and regional partners such as the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission. 

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