Welcome to the third and final post from Better Generation which investigates the environmental policies of the Liberal Democrats:-
The United Kingdom’s third main party, the Liberal Democrats, launched their manifesto recently. Their leader, Nick Clegg, preceded the launch with an interview in the Independent in which he said that his was the only party serious about green issues, “The old establishment parties offer warm words but weak, compromised solutions. The Liberal Democrats are the only party putting the battle against climate change front and centre.”
This manifesto is more ambitious when it comes to environmental issues with several manifesto pledges including a carbon-neutral Britain by 2050, a green economic stimulus package, a big expansion of renewable energy, a ten-year programme of home insulation, offering a home energy improvement package of up to £10,000 per home and an ‘Eco Cash-Back’ scheme, for one year only, which will give you £400 if you install double glazing, replace an old boiler, or install micro-generation. Perhaps unburdened by the virtual certainty of not winning the election, the Liberal Democrats have been able to produce a book of pledges that sit more in line not with what they could achieve in government but more alongside their ideology. Even so, it is encouraging to see a political manifesto with such ambition in green areas, particularly as, if some polls and commentators are to be believed, the Liberal Democrats may have a say in the formation of the next government. A hung parliament, where no single party has a majority of seats, is a genuine possibility in this election and in such a situation one or other of Labour and the Conservatives may be turning to the Lib Dems to form a coalition, giving them greater influence over policy decisions and legislature proposals.
The minor parties may have a say too, the Green Party launch their manifesto tomorrow and are expected to win at least one seat at next month’s vote. Do not expect a hung parliament to be the environmentalist’s ticket to greater action on renewable energy and climate change, however. There will be many different people, with many different interests trying to be a political “king-maker,” and the voices of those shouting about carbon dioxide emissions and green incentives could easily be drowned out in a time where people are more concerned about the banking system and spending cuts.
In summary, Labour offer a modest, quietly impressive range of policies on the environment and green business, but so the Conservatives. They differ slightly on the details but progress is progress, right? James Murray wrote last week that although it is not high up the political agenda, voter interest in environmental issues is still “far higher than it was five years ago.” The Lib Dems offer a much more impressive environmental policy plan, making it one of the central themes of their manifesto. The Greens will offer another even more attractive plan tomorrow, but it remains to be seen how much the Lib Dems and the smaller parties can influence the “big two.”
Whoever is in power come the summer will have a large number of very important issues to deal with, but it is up to us to ensure that they don’t forget that renewable energy and climate change are amongst them”.
Source: Better Generation
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