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UK Elections 2024: Which Party Is Best On Climate And Nature?

By Hugo Douglas-Deane

Here in the UK we're heading to a general election. So, on 4th July, how should you vote?

With the cost of living crisis, international security threats, the NHS, water pollution, and crumbling public services dominating headlines, climate seems to be taking a back seat.

Yet climate change is one of the biggest issues facing humanity right now, and it's rightly a big factor in voting intentions for many of us.

What Are The UK Political Parties’ Policies On Climate Change?

There are a lot of general election headlines, but what are the key policies of the main parties?

We’ve sifted through 395 pages of manifesto pledges to give you the facts. From general environmental pledges like net zero and renewables, to transport and housing, we've summarised it all to help you make an informed decision.

We encourage you to read more about the election pledges and promises by heading directly to the parties' websites to read more and get the full picture.

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Environment Manifesto Pledges

Conservatives' Environment Manifesto Pledges

  • Deliver net zero by 2050
  • Continue a moratorium on deep sea mining and ratify the Global Oceans Treaty
  • Use fines from water companies to invest in river restoration projects
  • We will not impose a universal Right to Roam
  • Create a new national park, deliver tree planting and peatland commitments through Nature for Climate funding

Labour's Environment Manifesto Pledges

  • Deliver net zero by 2050
  • £1 billion to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture
  • Create nine new National River Walks, one in each region of England, and establish three new National Forests in England, whilst planting millions of trees and creating new woodlands
  • Expand nature-rich habitats such as wetlands, peat bogs and forests
  • Ban trail hunting, snare traps and the import of hunting trophies
  • End puppy smuggling and farming, and work towards the phasing out of animal testing

The Green Party's Environment Manifesto Pledges

  • Advocate for a carbon tax to incentivise businesses to decarbonise their supply chains
  • Introducing a new Rights of Nature Act giving legal personhood to nature.
  • Set aside 30% of our land and seas by 2030 in which nature will receive the highest priority and protection
  • The creation of a new Commission on Animal Protection
  • A ban on all blood sports, including trail hunting and strengthening and extending the 2004 Hunting Act
  • A legal requirement for all British territorial and overseas waters to offer the highest protection to marine life
  • Almost triple support to farmers over the next 5-year parliament to support the transition to nature-friendly farming.
  • Conserve and improve the health of the soil and the wider environment, which in turn would lead to cleaner rivers.
  • Encourage a move to mixed farming along with a reduction in meat and dairy production and implement new horticulture support for fruit and vegetable production.
  • Link farm payments to a reduction in the use of pesticides and other agro-chemicals.

Liberal Democrats' Environment Manifesto Pledges

  • Introduce a general duty of care for the environment and human rights in business operations and supply chains.
  • Appoint a Chief Secretary for Sustainability in the Treasury and establish a new Net Zero Delivery Authority to coordinate action
  • Hand more powers and resources to local councils for local net zero strategies and establish national and local citizens’ assemblies
  • Require all large companies listed on UK stock exchanges to set targets consistent with achieving the net zero goal, report their progress, and publish transition plans to become nature-positive.
  • By 2050, double the size of: the Protected Area Network; the area of most important wildlife habitats; the abundance of species; woodland cover
  • Plant at least 60 million trees a year
  • Pass a Clean Air Act, based on World Health Organization guidelines
  • Introduce a deposit return scheme for food and drink bottles and containers
  • Creating and restoring habitats like peatland, saltmarshes, mudflats and seagrass meadows and ban the use of horticultural peat
  • An extra £1 billion a year to support profitable, sustainable and nature-friendly farming, and support farmers in restoring woodland, peatland and waterways
  • Improve standards of animal health and welfare in agriculture, including a ban on caged hens, and prevent unnecessarily painful practices in farming

Reform UK's Environment Manifesto Pledges

  • Scrap Climate-Related Farming Subsidies. Productive land must be farmed, not be used for solar farms or rewilding
  • End automatic access to UK waters
  • Protect ‘country sports’

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Transport Manifesto Pledges

Conservatives' Transport Manifesto Pledges

  • £44 billion of funding for Network Rail over the next five years and continued commitment to £36 billion investment in their Network North plan for railways
  • Complete HS2 between London Euston and the West Midlands and support the growth of the rail freight sector.
  • Require all new cars and vans to be zero emission by 2035
  • Ensure electric vehicle charge points are available across the country
  • Extend the £2 bus fare cap in England for the entirety of the next Parliament
  • Reverse the ULEZ expansion in London

Labour's Transport Manifesto Pledges

  • Develop a ten-year infrastructure strategy, aligned with our industrial strategy and regional development priorities, including improving rail connectivity across the north of England
  • Support the transition to electric vehicles by accelerating the roll out of charge points, and restoring the phase-out date of 2030 (currently 2035)
  • Reform the railways and bring them into public ownership as existing contracts expire
  • Give new powers to local leaders to franchise local bus services, and lift the ban on services being owned by local government

The Green Party's Transport Manifesto Pledges

  • Increase annual public subsidies for rail and bus travel to £10bn by the end of the next parliament to make public transport reliable, frequent, accessible and affordable, including free bus travel for under-18s.
  • Invest an additional £19bn over five years to improve public transport, support electrification and invest in new cycleways and footpaths; this includes the reallocation of funding earmarked for road building.
  • Bring the railways back into public ownership.
  • Give local authorities control over and funding for improved bus services.
  • Ensure £2.5bn a year is invested in new cycleways and footpaths.

Liberal Democrats' Transport Manifesto Pledges

  • Require the National Infrastructure Commission to take fully into account the environmental implications of all national infrastructure decisions.
  • Restore the requirement that every new car and small van sold from 2030 is zero-emission
  • Freeze rail fares and simplify ticketing on public transport to ensure regular users are paying fair and affordable prices.
  • Significantly extend the electrification of Britain’s rail network
  • Introduce a new super tax on private jet flights, and remove the VAT exemptions for private, first-class and business-class flights.

Reform UK's Transport Manifesto Pledges

  • Scrap HS2
  • Ban ULEZ Clean Air Zones and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
  • Scrap phase out to electric cars
  • Focus on our coastal regions, Wales, the North, and the Midlands. Improve existing rail and road links.

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Energy & Utilities Manifesto Pledges

Conservatives' Energy & Utilities Manifesto Pledges

  • Legislate to ensure annual licensing rounds for oil and gas production in the North Sea and maintain investment allowances to provide incentives
  • Treble offshore wind capacity
  • Build the first two carbon capture and storage clusters
  • Banning executive bonuses if a water company has committed a serious criminal breach
  • Invest £1.1 billion into the Green Industries Growth Accelerator to support British manufacturing capabilities
  • Scale up nuclear power, halve the time it takes for new nuclear reactors to be approved, and approving two new fleets of Small Modular Reactors
  • Implement a new import carbon pricing mechanism by 2027 to ensure that imports of iron, steel, aluminium, ceramics and cement from countries with a lower or no carbon price will face a comparable carbon price to those goods produced in the UK. This will reduce the risk of industry being displaced to other countries which aren’t taking action on climate change.

Labour's Energy & Utilities Manifesto Pledges

  • Have a ‘phased and responsible transition’ for North Sea oil and gas, and no new licences to explore new fields, and remove investment allowances
  • No new coal licences and ban fracking for good
  • Close the loopholes in the windfall tax on oil and gas companies.
  • Double onshore wind, triple solar power, and quadruple offshore wind by 2030
  • £500 million to support the manufacturing of green hydrogen.
  • Set up Great British Energy, a publicly-owned clean power company, paid for by a windfall tax on oil and gas giants
  • Extend the lifetime of existing nuclear power plants, and complete Hinkley Point C. Build new nuclear power stations, such as Sizewell C, and Small Modular Reactors.
  • Create a new Clean Power Alliance, bringing together a coalition of countries at the cutting edge of climate action
  • Invest in carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and marine energy
  • Put failing water companies under special measures to clean up our water. Give regulators new powers to block the payment of bonuses, bring criminal charges, impose automatic fines and ensure independent monitoring of every outlet.

The Green Party's Energy & Utilities Manifesto Pledges

  • No new oil and gas licences and the ending of all subsidies to the oil and gas industries.
  • Wind to provide around 70% of the UK’s electricity by 2030.
  • Communities to own their energy sources, ensuring they can use any profit from selling excess energy to reduce their bills or benefit their communities.
  • Cease development of new nuclear power stations and campaign to phase out existing stations
  • Take the water companies back into public ownership

Liberal Democrats' Energy & Utilities Manifesto Pledges

  • Promote a public benefit company model for monopoly utility companies.
  • Invest in renewable power so that 90% of the UK’s electricity is generated from renewables by 2030
  • Implement a one-off windfall tax on the super-profits of oil and gas producers and traders
  • Maintain the ban on fracking and introducing a ban on new coal mines.
  • Implement the UK’s G7 pledge to end fossil fuel subsidies
  • Invest in energy storage, including green hydrogen, pumped storage and battery capability.
  • End the sewage scandal by transforming water companies into public benefit companies

Reform UK's Energy & Utilities Manifesto Pledges

  • Start fast-tracking licences of North Sea gas and oil. Grant shale gas licences on test sites for 2 years.
  • Scrap Annual £10 Billion of Renewable Energy Subsidies
  • Fast-track clean nuclear energy with new Small Modular Reactors, built in Britain.
  • Increase and incentivise ethical UK lithium mining for electric batteries, combined cycle gas turbines, clean synthetic fuel, tidal power and explore clean coal mining.
  • Launch a new model that brings 50% of each utility into public ownership. The other 50% would be owned by UK pension funds

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Housing Manifesto Pledges

Conservatives' Housing Manifesto Pledges

  • Abolish the legacy EU ‘nutrient neutrality’ rules to immediately unlock the building of 100,000 new homes with local consent, with developers required in law to pay a one-off mitigation fee so there is no net additional pollution.
  • Retain commitment to protect the Green Belt from ‘uncontrolled development’, while ensuring more homes get built ‘where it makes sense’, like in inner cities.

Labour's Housing Manifesto Pledges

  • We will implement solutions to unlock the building of homes affected by nutrient neutrality without weakening environmental protections.
  • Preserve the green belt. Without changing its purpose or general extent, take a more strategic approach to greenbelt land designation and release to build more homes in the right places. The release of lower quality ‘grey belt’ land will be prioritised and ‘golden rules’ introduced to ensure development benefits communities and nature.
  • Double the existing planned government investment, to upgrade five million homes to cut bills for families and support investment in insulation and other improvements such as solar panels, batteries and low carbon heating to cut bills

The Green Party's Housing Manifesto Pledges

  • Ensure that all new homes meet Passivhaus or equivalent standards and house builders include solar panels and heat pumps on all new homes, where appropriate.
  • £29bn over the next five years to insulate homes to an EPC B standard or above, and £4bn to insulate other buildings to a high standard
  • £9bn for low-carbon heating systems like heat pumps

Liberal Democrats' Housing Manifesto Pledges

  • Make homes warmer and cheaper to heat with a ten-year emergency upgrade programme, starting with free insulation and heat pumps for those on low incomes
  • Drive a rooftop solar revolution by expanding incentives for households to install solar panels
  • Free insulation and heat pumps for low-income households and incentives for installing heat pumps
  • Require all new homes and non-domestic buildings to be built to a zero-carbon standard
  • Existing landlords to upgrade property EPC ratings to C or above by 2028
  • Ensure new developments result in significant net gain for biodiversity, with up to a 100% net gain for large developments.

Reform UK's Housing Manifesto Pledges

  • Fast-track planning and tax incentives for development of brownfield sites
  • Incentivise innovation to speed up building: modular construction, digital technology and building sites that improve efficiency and cut waste.

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Foreign Policy Manifesto Pledges

Conservatives' Foreign Policy Manifesto Pledges

  • We staunchly stand behind Israel’s right to defend itself and to live with security. We will continue to support access to aid for those affected by the conflict.
  • We will push for a two-state solution in the Middle East
  • Our long-standing position has been that we will recognise a Palestinian State at a time that is most conducive to the peace process

Labour's Foreign Policy Manifesto Pledges

  • Labour will continue to push for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages, the upholding of international law, and a rapid increase of aid into Gaza
  • We are committed to recognising a Palestinian state as a contribution to a renewed peace process which results in a two-state solution
  • Unshakeable commitment to NATO and our nuclear deterrent

The Green Party's Foreign Policy Manifesto Pledges

  • Push for the UK to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and following this to begin immediately the process of dismantling our nuclear weapons, cancelling the Trident programme and removing all foreign nuclear weapons from UK soil.
  • An end to all UK arms exports to and military cooperation with Israel, and an immediate and permanent bilateral ceasefire

Liberal Democrats' Foreign Policy Manifesto Pledges

  • Return international development spending to 0.7% of national income, with tackling climate change a key priority
  • Maintaining the UK’s nuclear deterrent with four submarines providing continuous at-sea deterrence, while pursuing multilateral global disarmament.
  • Advocate for an immediate bilateral ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza conflict to resolve the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, get the hostages out, and provide the space to reach a two-state solution based on 1967 borders with security and dignity for Israelis and Palestinians. Officially recognise the independent state of Palestine with immediate effect

Reform UK's Foreign Policy Pledges

  • Increase Defence Spending to 2.5% of National GDP by year 3, then 3% within 6 years
  • Introduce incentives and tax breaks to boost the UK defence industry and manufacture defence products for export