According to political pundits, General Election 2015 will see a buoyant Green Party enjoy a ‘Green surge’.
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This year’s early polls indicate that the Lib Dems have been bleeding votes to the Greens – suggesting that environmental issues are closer to our hearts than ever.
But how do all the parties fare in their efforts to capture those who are concerned by the environment?
Here’s a quick run down of each party’s green policies:
The Tories are not traditionally known as a green-focused party (despite Prime Minister David Cameron’s infamous 2008 ‘Hug A Huskie’ photo call), but they do have some green plans in the pipeline.
The Conservatives plan to protect the environment and Green Belt in the planning system.
They also plan to spend more than £3bn to 2020 on improving the environment, as well as phasing out subsidies for new onshore wind farms and investing £500m to make most vehicles zero emission by 2050.
Labour has some decent green policies. “We’ll make Britain a world leader in low carbon technology and green jobs, creating a million new high technology, green jobs by 2025,” the party’s website boasts.
Labour plans to freeze energy bills until 2017 and give energy regulator new powers to cut bills this winter. They also pledge to reduce carbon emissions generated during electricity production to zero by 2030 and prioritise flood prevention.
Labour has promised to end “inhumane and ineffective” badger culling as well as maintaining the ban on hunting with dogs. They would also introduce a ban on wild animals used in circuses.
The Lib Dems have one of the strongest greenest pledges. They plan to double renewable electricity by 2020, and decarbonise the power sector by 2030, leading to a zero carbon Britain by 2050
The party also plans to plant 750,000 trees a year, introduce a mandatory charge for plastic bags, and promote the use of electric cars and public transport.
The party has also promised to introduce five new green laws: A Nature Bill; A Heating and Energy Efficiency Bill; A Zero Waste Britain Bill; A Zero Carbon Britain Bill; and A Green Transport Bill.
It’s rather concerning that Ukip leader Nigel Farage plans to repeal the Climate Change Act 2008. He also says there will be no new subsidies for wind farms and solar arrays under Ukip plans. The party would also set about abolishing green taxes and charges in order to reduce fuel bills.
However the party does intent to protect the Green Belt and prioritise support for organic farms.
Party leader Natalie Bennett aims to phase out fossil fuel-based energy generation and nuclear power. She also plans to reduce all UK greenhouse gas emissions to 10% of their 1990 levels by 2030 to tackle climate change.
The Greens will also invest in renewable energy sources, flood defences and building insulation.
The Greens will also ban fracking, end factory farming and animal testing, crack down on the illegal trade in wildlife, and introduce new animal protection standards.
Scottish National Party (SNP)
Over the past four years the SNP has introduced 39 new renewable projects since they came to power.
The SNP says that Scotland is on track to produce nearly a third of its electricity from renewable sources and the party has pledged to increase that to 80 per cent by 2020.
The SNP, now led by Nicola Sturgeon, wants UK government to adopt Scotland’s ambitious carbon reduction target and to start a dedicated Climate Justice Fund.
The party also wants to maximise support for offshore wind, ensuring Scotland sees maximum investment.
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PHOTO CREDITS: Steve Rhodes on flickr