‘Green agenda’ should be prioritised in UK 2015 election

Renewable energy is set to become a major talking point in the run up to the UK's 2015 national election.

As the UK’s leading environmental groups have teamed up to challenge political parties to prioritise the environment for the election, the Liberal Democrats party have released five “green laws" to be included in its 2015 manifesto.  

The consortium of environmental groups, including the National Trust, WWF, RSPB, Greenpeace, The Wildlife Trusts and Friends of the Earth have proposed seven priorities to be the focus of the 2015 election manifestos.

Backed by a supporter base of seven million, the environmental groups today called for environmental policy to be central to manifestos for 2015. 

“It is time for every major party to realise that the future of our society depends profoundly on the future of our environment. Society will only prosper when genuine political leadership is shown on this issue” said Stephanie Hilborne, chief executive of the Wildlife Trusts.

Mike Clark, chief executive of the RSPB said “Manifestos are sometimes important for their differences, but it’s when they’re the same that they’re really powerful.”

The seven goals proposed by the consortium include binding decarbonisation policy and the expansion of the renewable energy investment bank with £3.8 billion in public funds, the Green Investment Bank.

Also to improve and incentivise energy and resource efficiency, fund green public spaces; protect oceans and biodiversity and empower local communities.

Stephen Joseph, CEO, Campaign for Better Transport said “it's absolutely critical that the people we elect to guide us through the next five years have an informed, inspired and sound environmental policy.”

At the same time, the Liberal Democrats have promised to prioritise renewable energy.

The Liberal Democrats published today, five new environmental laws “for a greener Britain”.

To be included in the party’s 2015 election manifesto, is the ‘Zero Carbon Britain Bill’ – the decarbonisation of the electricity sector and an end to coal plants if re-elected.       

The four other bills proposed are the Green Transport Bill, the Nature Bill, Heating and Energy Efficiency Bill and the Zero Waste Britain Bill.

The bills promise the implementation of legal targets for air and water quality, to improve the Green Investment Bank, install electric vehicle charge points, developing cycling, walking and public transport routes, waste reduction initiatives and improving energy efficiency and renewable energy to cut UK energy bills.

The Lib Dem Secretary for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey said the “green agenda” has been one of the “biggest areas of tension” in the current Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government, but the party is to make the environment a top priority, protecting the environment is a “central and political and moral challenge” said Davey.

Environmental policies are "not something we can, or should, try and sidestep” said Davey.

“Between now and next May, the Liberal Democrats will be putting forward these new green ideas and asking people for their views so we can finalise them for our General Election manifesto.”

“We want to make it as easy as possible to go green” Davey said.  

On the upcoming 2015 elections, Andy Atkins, executive director of Friends of the Earth said political parties “must respond both to the major challenges we face and the corresponding public call for stronger action.”

John Sauven, executive director, Greenpeace UK said the next government will face making a critical international deal on climate change, “the question is whether they will have the courage to face up to vested interests and the vision to make it happen."

“This is not an opportunity to waste” said David Baldock, executive director, IEEP.