General Election Watch 2017! Environmental issues might not be your thing, but if you love your motor vehicle it’s worth paying attention to inform your vote on 8th June.
The General Election is taking place on Thursday 8th June, just a week away! We looked at the big 3 political parties and what their manifestos are proposing for transport and the environment. Here’s what they have to say.
The Conservative Party
The Conservative manifesto promises to invest heavily in improving transport and there’s a big push on building a new national car recharging network and a push towards zero emissions.
They pledge to:
- Spend £40bn over the next 10 years on improving transport and are investing to reduce travel time and cost and to increase capacity
- Make the transport system greener by introducing incentives for electricity network operators to build a new national car recharging network – making it easier for drivers to move to electric and plug-in vehicles
- Every van and car to be zero emission by 2050, investing £600 million by 2020
- Invest in low-emission buses and encourage commuters to use lower carbon public transport
Although the Conservatives pledge to spend £40bn on transport over the next 10 years, it doesn’t stipulate exactly what type of transport this will be spent on or how. There seems to be a big focus on electric/hybrid vehicles, however people who are using diesel vehicles may decide to move to a cleaner fuel such as unleaded before they move to electric, and the ones who are already using unleaded vehicles may not wish to use electric unless it was economical to do so.
The Labour Party
Unfortunately, a good proportion of Labour’s manifesto is dedicated to letting us know what the Conservatives have failed to do, leaving less room to explain what they will be doing towards transport and the environment themselves.
Labour plans to introduce a new ‘Clean Air Act’ to legislate against diesel fumes, although it doesn’t go into specifics about how it would achieve this. There is no mention of what’s going to happen to red diesel which is used to heat our homes, and is used for vehicles in the construction and agricultural sector and in the aviation industry to power jet engines. All of which contribute to polluting the air we breathe. However, they do pledge to ban fracking in order to avoid locking the country into an energy infrastructure based on fossil fuels.
They will work towards 60% of the UK’s energy coming from zero-carbon or renewable energy sources by 2030.
There is a plan to deregulate the railways and return them back to public ownership which, if successful and the cost of travel decreases, should help to lessen the traffic on our roads and leave our air cleaner.
They go on to say that they will “Invest in a modern, integrated, accessible and sustainable transport system that is reliable and affordable”.
Diesel buses will be retrofitted to meet Euro 6 standards in areas with severe air quality problems such as big cities like London and Glasgow. The manifesto doesn’t state what the alternative fuel will be. They have pledged to protect critical bus routes, which is good news for the elderly and those who would prefer to use public transport.
In a further bid to reduce road traffic, Labour have also pledged to develop and upgrade the National Cycle Network.
The Labour manifesto is somewhat lacking on the topic of transport and doesn’t explain fully how they plan to implement their proposals.
The Liberal Democrat Party
The Liberal Democrats promise us they’re going to ‘Change Britain’s Future’. They’ve been bold and have proposed to implement 5 Green Laws, two of these are a Green Transport Act and a Zero Carbon Act – where they will work towards eliminating carbon from the air and introduce a network of car charging points for electric vehicles.
They want to introduce a diesel scrappage scheme to eventually remove diesel vehicles from the road and focus on low emissions by only allowing low emission vehicles on the road from 2040.
They also want to expand Ultra-low Emission Zones to 10 more towns/cities. In addition, by 2050 they want to create a legally binding target of ‘zero net’ greenhouse gas emissions rate.
The Lib Dems support the manufacture of low-emission and electric vehicles and are aiming for all private hire vehicles and buses to run on ultra-low emission or zero emission fuels within five years. There will be reforms to vehicle taxation to encourage sales of electric and low-emission vehicles.
They are also proposing a Zero Waste Act, including legally binding targets for reducing net consumption of key natural resources and incentives for businesses to improve resource efficiency.
These pledges aim to improve our environment, but it is clearly not as simple as removing the use of diesel and replacing it with electricity without stronger alternatives for green energy production. In the short term it is likely to put more pressure on coal-burning power plants to provide the additional electricity required.
Surely if we are to be consuming more electric in the future, the primary focus should be on introducing incentives for operators to build power plants that run on alternative energy resources such as water, wind or solar power?
Who will get your vote on the 8th of June 2017?