2015 General Election – Where do the Parties Stand on Environmental Issues?
May 04 2015 Read 1213 Times
With May 7th approaching there's just time for a quick review of the stance some of the major political parties are taking on environmental issues. A run-down on some of the key areas:
Ed Miliband's vow to cap energy bills if elected lost some of its impact when wholesale gas prices tumbled and the proposed policy may have actually backfired, with energy suppliers reluctant to pass on those cuts too generously to the consumer, lest they find themselves locked in to offering the lower tariffs when wholesale prices rise again. None of the other parties matched Miliband's commitment but all are hinting at tougher regulation if necessary to bring the big six energy suppliers into line.
The Green Party wants to scrap hydraulic fracturing and is taking by far the strongest stance generally - pledging to invest heavily in renewable energy and energy efficiency and phasing out fossil fuel power stations. Plaid Cymru and the SNP want to suspend fracking in Wales and Scotland respectively until much more research on safety concerns is carried out. The Tories and UKIP are in favour of fracking. The Lib Dems believe there is a place for it, but strike a more cautious note, saying it should be in moderation and not at the expense of developing renewable energy. All three agree on the need for strong regulation.
The Tories and UKIP are against wind turbines, unless they are in the sea. The Liberal Democrats are in favour of appropriately located onshore and offshore wind farms with plans to double the amount of electricity the UK produces from renewable sources. The SNP is pushing renewable technology but is also backing the North Sea oil industry.
The Tories and UK are in favour of expansion in nuclear power. The Green Party strongly opposes it on the basis that it 'poses unacceptable risks'. Labour and the Lib Dems accept that nuclear power has a role, while Plaid Cymru and the SNP oppose new nuclear power plants.
UKIP are not convinced that human activity is responsible for climate change – a view that puts them at odds with most scientists. All the other main party leaders believe that global warming is a man-made problem and needs to be dealt with, though there are some sceptics in the Tory party.
Fox hunting and Badger Culling
David Cameron has said he would hold a parliamentary vote to repeal Labour's 2005 Hunting Act. Labour has pledged to maintain the ban and, indeed, police it more strongly, amid suspicions that actual hunts still take place under the cover of ‘trail’ hunts. The Green Party has taken the toughest stance, going as far as to suggest that grouse shooting and hare coursing should also be banned. Badger culling is broadly supported by the Tories and opposed by Labour.
With a UK General Election almost immediately after AQE 2015, the international Air Quality and Emissions show, air quality is likely to be a hot political issue, so the event could not have been better timed. For more information about this event, read AQE 2015 to Focus on Ways to Improve Air Quality and Emissions Monitoring.
Image Source: The Houses of Parliament, London
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