The Liberal Democrats have today launched their election manifesto, unveiling arguably the most extensive range of environmental commitments of all the three main parties.
The manifesto sets out proposals for a multimillion-pound green stimulus plan designed to create 100,000 jobs and contains many specific green pledges, which in the event of a hung parliament could take on huge significance.
The stimulus package proposes investing £400m in refurbishing shipyards to support the offshore wind and marine energy industry, providing a year-long extension to the government's popular scrappage schemes to cover double glazing, old boilers and onsite renewable energy systems, and increasing the payments offered through the feed-in tariff scheme to homes and businesses that generate their own energy.
In addition, extra money would be found to help schools cut their carbon footprint, £140m would be provided to local councils to fund the rollout of new low-carbon bus fleets, and grants and low-interest loans would be made available to people wishing to improve the environmental performance of their home, including targeted support for developers aiming to bring the UK's 250,000 unused homes back into use.
The manifesto also echoes those released earlier this week by Labour and the Tories by announcing plans for a national green infrastructure bank. However, the Lib Dems provide a greater level of detail on how such a bank would operate, setting out a standalone public entity designed to stimulate private investment in low-carbon projects and provide customers with green savings accounts. The Party also raised the prospect of finding extra seed capital for the bank by not only selling off the student loan book or the tote as the government has already proposed, but also auctioning airport landing slots and parts of the radio spectrum.