It’s Up the Poll! 2017: The Environment and the General Election

It’s Up the Poll looks at how the parties fare on environmental issues

Chew Valley Reservoir Panorama
Chew Reservoir, seen in July 2011.

Continuing where we left off last time, we are looking at the parties’ environmental policies, and how they affect our area East of the M60 motorway. As with our previous instalment on transport policy, we shall condensing some hundred or so words into Haiku form.

Traditionally, the main three political parties have held differing views on the environment. In the last decade, Labour kickstarted a nascent solar energy industry. Then the Tories rode roughshod over it, thanks to their pro-fracking agenda. Since the beginning, this has been the Green Party of England and Wales and its predecessors’ stock in trade.

The Labour Party:

Fracking banned, Clean Air
Act, Blue Belt for the oceans,
Low carbon energy.

Like the Green Party, Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is ardently against fracking. The shale gas, hailed as a transition fuel, is anything but a cleaner replacement for coal. Plus the emissions that fracking drills emit could breach a new Clean Air Act. As well as keeping the air clean, Labour favour the creation of a Blue Belt. This could make our coastlines cleaner and free from unsympathetic development.

As well as boosting low carbon energy sources, Labour favours having them in public ownership. Distinct from some commentators’ perceptions of ‘taking back control’, Labour’s interpretation of which could see water, gas, and electricity supplies back in our hands.

The Green Party of England and Wales:

Fossil fuels, fracking,
Out. Green Belt protection,
Also waste reduction.

As soon as the Tories said the ‘F’ word in relation to the Fylde peninsula, the Green Party turned their anger up to eleven. Needless to say, their environmental policies include a total ban on fracking and the end of fossil fuel subsidies.

For households, a public works programme is the cornerstone of their energy policy. This entails a massive insulation and energy efficiency programme. This could improve the energy efficiency of our home, and offer lasting savings on our utility bills.

Conservative Party:

Shale gas tops class,
Paris Agreement’s fulfilled,
Whilst foxes are killed.

The Tories claim to be the party that brought environmental issues to the fore. In their manifesto, it states how their Climate Change Act was a game changer. Its adoption of hydraulic fracturing not only undoes John Gummer’s work; it shows a brazen contempt for everyone on our ‘pale blue dot’. Not least their need to kowtow to the fossil fuel lobby. Wherever possible.

Their manifesto pledges greater international cooperation for animal conservation issues. Yet, closer to home, badger culling and a free vote on the restoration of fox hunting registers highly among voters’ minds.

United Kingdom Independence Party:

Fracking: yes, with care;
Green belts preserved, woodlands saved,
No Halal slaughter.

Whereas the Conservatives are the most pro-fracking party, UKIP also support hydraulic fracturing. Instead of drilling within National Parks, UKIP eschews this approach – a slight contrast on 2015’s ‘get fracking’ message. The preservation of green belt land, in favour of brown land development and ancient woodlands is their signature environmental policy.

Their approach to animal welfare does not favour fox hunting. Instead, they propose stiffer penalties for animal cruelty offences. They also propose the outlawing of Jewish and Muslim methods of animal slaughtering by unqualified personnel.

Liberal Democrats:

Five green laws,
Zero-waste and nature Acts,
Farm subsidies saved.

Five green laws, including the Green Transport Act, form the centrepiece of the Liberal Democrats’ approach to the environment. A Zero-Waste Act is another, which will include legal binding targets on waste reduction. Part of the plan includes a 5p tax on disposable coffee cups. There will be improved recycling targets (which could see more managed collections).

With Britain’s exit from the European Union likely, they propose a replacement for existing EU farm subsidies. They also propose a British Housing and Infrastructure Bank to get British homes to modern day energy standards.

Monster Raving Loony Party:

Three badgers on my shirt
Fast food carton warnings
About your food.

You have got to love the Monster Raving Loony Party’s environmental policy for its sheer daftness. Their response to the Tories’ badger cull policy is a change to the England badge. Instead of Three Lions, Three Badgers will be on the crest.

Their plans for fast food packaging are pure comedy gold. A warning on each pizza box or burger wrapper which says ‘May Contain Traces of Real Food’.

*                               *                              *

Manifestoes:

Next up on It’s Up The Poll! 2017

We shall be looking at business related policies of the parties standing in our area, east of the M60 motorway. This one may contain traces of Brexit.

S.V., 06 June 2017.

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