Labour yesterday set out its ‘Green Plan’, establishing its environment and climate change policies ahead of next month’s General Election.
The plan was launched ahead of Labour’s Energy Spokesperson Caroline Flint taking part in a 5 way debate as part of the BBC’s Daily Politics series of election debates, with the Conservatives, Green Party, Liberal Democrats and the UK Independence Party (UKIP). Labour’s Green Plan sets out a number of commitments, including:
- The establishment of a legally binding target to decarbonise the UK’s electricity supply by 2030;
- Delivering energy efficiency upgrades to at least five million homes over ten years;
- Creating a million new ‘green jobs’ by 2025 – albeit the party fails to mention how many existing jobs will be displaced by this commitment;
- Giving the Green Investment Bank borrowing powers;
- Introducing a new domestic climate change adaptation programme to protect homes and businesses from extreme weather;
- Developing a 25 year plan for what is describes as ‘the recovery of nature’ with clear five year milestones to measure progress;
- Planting new woodland and trees closer to where people live;
- Protecting the public forest estate from privatisation.
Speaking at the launch of the Green Plan, Caroline Flint MP, said, “Building a more equal society means tackling climate change and protecting nature. The aims we have championed throughout our history – from decent living standards for working people, to care for the vulnerable, and a route out of poverty for those in the developing world, are all at risk from spiralling global temperatures.
“The last Labour government was the first in the world to put carbon reduction targets into law, spurring investment and creating markets for thousands of British companies. The next Labour government will commit Britain to decarbonising our electricity supply by 2030 to give business certainty to invest so we can create a million green jobs over the next decade and invest in green technology and green infrastructure to power Britain’s economy forward into the future.”
Maria Eagle MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, said, “Every radical, reforming Labour Government has extended public access to nature and safeguarded our environment for future generations to cherish and enjoy. With this plan, we aspire to do the same.
“Nature and the power it has to sustain economies and nourish all life should not be preserved just for a privileged few. The last Labour government championed the right to roam which opened up new land and provided increased access to our countryside and coast. The next Labour government will develop a 25 year plan for the recovery of nature, protect the public forest estate and bring nature closer to people by planting new woodland and trees closer to where people live.”
However, whilst some and indeed many elements of Labour’s Green Plan were given a warm welcome by environmental campaigners – some remain concerned at the party’s apparent support for ‘fracking’.
Friends of the Earth’s Head of Politics Liz Hutchins said, “Labour’s green vision contains a number of encouraging policies. Making the insulation of cold homes a national infrastructure priority is particularly welcome; fixing our heat-leaking homes will save lives, create jobs and slash fuel bills.
“But Labour is still wrong to support fracking. Although its promise that fracking won’t undermine UK climate change commitments is a step forward, it should at least commit to a total moratorium until government climate experts report on the risks next year.”
“The party should stop trying to balance support for fossil fuels and renewables and recognise that a transition away from dirty energy is what’s urgently required.”