Liberal Democrats

Climate action cannot wait.

Liberal Democrats have a plan for a green recovery, creating jobs and tackling the climate emergency. 🍃

By Dan Schmeising,

Chimey stacks with smoke

The UN has sounded the alarm bells yet again. If we are to stop irreversible climate change we need to act now. 

The UK is hosting one of the most important climate change conferences ever this year. But despite that, the Tories are not taking the climate emergency seriously. 

They are reversing progress on cutting emissions and are claiming to be worried about the cost of acting. But they don’t seem to care about the cost of not acting.

If the UK government fails to make progress, then Glasgow will be remembered as the conference where the world stood still as the Earth burned. 

The Liberal Democrats believe in a fairer and greener society, placing tackling the climate emergency at the heart of our recovery from the pandemic. Our plan for a green recovery will create jobs and cut emissions - making Britain the world leader it should be.

The Green Recovery Plan

Save British Countryside

One in four pupils attend schools in areas over air pollution limits. That pollution causes 40,000 early deaths a year.

Our countryside is at risk. Four in ten British species are in decline and the UK is failing to meet 17 of its 20 biodiversity targets.

The Tories are happy to sit back and do nothing. They’re driving farmers out of business - the very people we need to look after our landscapes - by failing to protect our high standards of animal welfare and environmental protection.

They’re missing even the modest targets they’ve set themselves on tree planting and biodiversity recovery. 

Liberal Democrats want to restore the UK's natural environment and doing this goes hand in hand with cutting emissions. We would protect our standards and reward farmers for doing the right thing.

We would: 

  • Introduce a Nature Act to restore the natural environment. We'll do this by setting legally binding near-term and long-term targets for improving water, air, soil and biodiversity.
  • Plant at least 60 million trees a year to cut emissions, restore woodlands and increase the use of sustainable wood in construction.
  • Work with farmers to restore peatlands, heathland, native woodlands, salt marshes, wetlands and coastal waters. This will absorb carbon, protect against floods, improve water quality and protect habitats.
  • Introduce a National Food Strategy, to promote the production and consumption of healthy, sustainable, and affordable food that benefits nature.
  • Increase the amount of protected, accessible green space so everyone can access nature.

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Green Every Home

Energy usage in our homes accounts for 14% of UK emissions. Our homes are some of the worst quality in Europe. 2.5 million live in fuel poverty due to poor insulation and heat loss. 

The Conservatives have done nothing to help. In fact, they’re taking us backwards. Last year they launched the Green Homes Grant to help people upgrade their homes. But after mismanaging it, ensuring that very few took it up, they scrapped it.

In 2016, they ended standards introduced by the Liberal Democrats to ensure all homes will be eco-friendly. Many homes built since now need to be retrofitted.

Liberal Democrats believe everyone deserves a warm home that is affordable to heat. We would:

Local communities deserve better transport options. That means more, cleaner buses, electric car charging and better trains and trams.

  • Implement an emergency ten-year programme to reduce energy consumption from all buildings. This will cut emissions and energy bills and end fuel poverty.
  • Create thousands of new green jobs through the home insulation programme. Councils must be empowered to deliver home improvements.
  • Require all new homes and non-domestic buildings to be built to a zero-carbon standard.
  • Increase minimum energy efficiency standards for privately rented properties. Tenants, as well as homeowners, deserve to live in high-quality homes.

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Clean Air for Kids

One in four pupils attend schools in areas over air pollution limits. That pollution causes 40,000 early deaths a year. By 2025 air pollution is likely to cost the NHS £1.5 billion.

The Conservatives have continuously broken air pollution limits. Their 2017 plan to tackle air pollution was deemed “unlawful” because it simply wasn’t good enough. Last year they pledged to spend £27 billion on new or upgraded roads.

Liberal Democrats would create a £20 billion Clean Air Fund. This would help create safe walking and cycling routes to schools, and invest in pollution-free public transport. We would:

  • Pass a Clean Air Act, based on World Health Organisation guidelines, enforced by a new Air Quality Agency. The Act will enshrine the legal right to unpolluted air wherever you live.
  • Extending Ultra-Low Emission Zones to ten more towns and cities. Liberal Democrat-run Bath and North East Somerset Council has done this to great effect.
  • Introduce a nationwide strategy to promote cycling and walking. In addition, we'll provide funding to local authorities to build more cycle lines and improve pavements.
  • Ensure that all private hire vehicles and new buses licensed to operate in urban areas are ultra-low or zero-emission by 2025. We'll also support bus operators and taxi drivers to retrofit their vehicles.

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Transport Revolution

Transport is the UK's biggest source of carbon emissions. Local communities deserve better transport options. That means more, cleaner buses, electric car charging and better trains and trams.

The Tories have done next to nothing. They’re planning to spend significantly more on roads than they are on public transport. Their latest “Transport Decarbonisation” strategy was simply a rehash of previous announcements with no new funding.

Liberal Democrats would invest £40 billion over three years in rail, buses, trams and electric vehicles. We would:

Liberal Democrats would invest £40 billion over three years in rail, buses, trams and electric vehicles.

  • Create a £20 billion Clean Air Fund to clean up our air.
  • Immediately end procurement of new diesel-only trains, making new diesel trains illegal. We would also aim to phase out bio-mode diesel and electric trains.
  • Restore bus routes and add new routes where there is local need. Local authorities would have more control over their bus networks, including the ability to run their own buses.
  • Extend Britain’s rail network. We'll improve stations, reopen smaller stations and restore twin-track lines to major routes.
  • Implement, in cooperation with local authorities, light rail schemes for trams and tram-trains.
  • Reduce the climate impact of flying by introducing a frequent flyer levy. This government's level of subsidy for air travel is not sustainable. The cost must be borne by those who fly the most, not the public purse.

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Green Energy Switch

Only half of Britain's energy is generated from renewable sources. Switching to green energy is vital for cutting emissions and meeting our climate change commitments.

The Tories have banned on-shore wind and slashed subsidies to solar power. They’ve become obsessed with expensive nuclear power and have overseen the stagnation of new renewables.

Liberal Democrats would invest now so Britain gets 80% of its electricity from green energy by 2030. We would:

  • Create a Green Sovereign Wealth Fund to reinvest profits in off-shore wind auctions back into new renewable energy.
  • Removing the Conservatives’ restrictions on solar and on-shore wind 
  • Expand community and decentralised energy. We'll support councils to develop local electricity generation and require all new homes to be fitted with solar panels.
  • Support investment and innovation in cutting-edge energy technologies. This includes tidal and wave power, energy storage, demand response, smart grids and hydrogen.

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Today's UN report makes it chillingly clear that we don't have time to waste. We need action on the climate crisis. This Conservative Government isn't doing anywhere near enough. We need a plan that works, now.

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