Welcome to second of three guest posts from Better Generation. Following on from yesterdays critique of Labours pledges on environmental policies writer Dom gives us an insight into what the Conservatives offer:-
For their part, the Conservatives have also launched a manifesto which also contains a chapter on environmental policies. As mentioned, many of the two major parties’ policies are similar on renewable energy and other environmental issues, but there are slight differences between the two. Both manifestos will give environmentalists reason to be cheerful and cause for concern but where the good parts of Labour’s manifesto are undermined by the bad, the Conservative’s release is more about what is not said on green issues. It says, “Instead of pulling bureaucratic levers from above telling people what they can’t do, we will provide people with the information they need to make more responsible choices.” Which some might fear can be used as an excuse to remove current schemes or scrap proposed ones that will require significant government intervention.
Two areas of disagreement between the two big parties that will affect green businesses are the Tory proposals to replace the Renewable Obligation and system of Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) with an extended feed-in tariff and the plan to impose a carbon floor price. Both are controversial proposals that have been met with derision from some quarters. The plan to scale back the Renewable Obligation was not included in the manifesto yesterday but the party confirmed the plans. “We will reduce costs to consumers and risks to investors by allowing feed-in tariffs to be used for future investments,” a spokeswoman said. “This would offer better value for money to the public and reduce the cost of capital for investors.”
A spokesperson for RenewableUK was less enthusiastic about the proposal and said, “The RO has brought nearly 20,000MW of onshore wind projects into the planning system and made the UK the world’s leading market for offshore wind development. This success should not be endangered through over-hasty policy making, nor should decisions on this vital topic be undertaken without fully understanding the needs of the industry.”
The carbon floor price proposal, meanwhile, has been criticised by The Telegraph’s Rowena Mason who wrote that it was “an undesirable tax on consumers and companies,” and no green guarantee.
These two areas aside, Labour and Conservative proposals on the environment and renewable energy are undeniably very similar. While some may point to a growing consensus over environmental policy, there is the real fear that a lack of debate will lead to neither of the main parties creating a clear, ambitious vision of how to tackle climate change and energy security.
Source: Better Generation
Tomorrow will be the final post on the what the Liberal Deomcrats offer.