As of February 2023

The Environment

We need to work on a greener future for our planet

Key Policies

  • Cut emissions faster, and reach net zero sooner: a 75 per cent cut by 2030 and net zero by 2045 - five years sooner than current government targets.
  • Boost the green economy by investing in renewable energy, retrofitting all homes to be more energy efficient, and changing our approach to transport.
  • Protect the environment by reforming farm payments, backing fair trade, and setting new targets to protect our water, air and soil.
  • Speed up the shift to renewable energy with a target of generating 75 per cent green energy by 2030.
  • Stop sewage dumps in our rivers by removing financial incentives.
conference
Climate Change

Major conference on climate action

In a major speech to a 100-strong Community Action Group conference in Taunton on Saturday, Cllr Dixie Darch, Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change urged people to feel positive about what can seem like a “doomster” subject.

21 May 2024
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Enviroment

The need to protect our environment has been a Liberal Democrat priority for decades. With the impact of climate change becoming clearer every year, it has never been more important to focus our attention on what we can do to help the planet.

It's not enough to set targets and hope society will shift to meet them. There needs to be a determined focus and active leadership when it comes to meeting - and preferably surpassing - our environmental goals. 

There is a strong case to be made that pushing a greener economy and striving harder to reach net zero emissions earlier will mean a boost not just to our environment but also to the economy.

Solutions

Here is how we plan to protect the environment:

Targets 

  • We will cut emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 compared to current government plans of 68 per cent by 2030 and 78 per cent by 2035. A few percentage points over several years may not seem like much on paper but it will have a big real-world impact. It will also require focused attention to achieve.
  • We will reach net zero emissions by 2045 at the latest while the current government target is 2050. Five years of worsening climate change events is something we cannot afford.
  • Speed up the shift to renewable energy with a target of generating 75 per cent green energy by 2030.

Wind Power is now something all the political parties say they want but it was the Liberal Democrats that made it a reality by pushing hard while in power during the 2010-2015 Coalition with the Conservative Party.

 

LibDem leader Ed Davey was the prime driver behind the roll-out and because of his efforts, Britain is now seen as leading the world when it comes to offshore wind. That vision and focus proved its worth a hundred times over when gas prices rocketed following Russia's invastion of Ukraine in 2022. The UK was able to generate a significant proportion of its energy from existing, sustainable and green windfarms.

 

Our plans are much bigger than current installations but the rollout of offshore wind was cut short by the Conservative government and then further limited through a ban on onshore wind; something the government maintains despite the fact than over two-thirds of the population are in favour of more wind farms.

 

Had the Liberal Democrats remained in power, a majority of our power needs would now be supplied by wind power. 

Reforms

  • Revive the economy by growing green businesses. We will invest in renewable energy, retrofit all homes to be more energy efficient, and introduce new standards to make sure all new homes don't contribute to climate change.
  • Change how transport works forever. We will complete the electrification of the railway network, drive the take-up of electric cars, and make it much easier for people to cycle and walk as part of their everyday activity.
  • Push zero-carbon approaches across different industries and sectors including housing and transport but also local energy generation and land use.
  • Change farm payments so British farmers benefit from nature-friendly farming.
  • Bring an end to sewage dumps in our rivers by removing the financial incentive that drives them. We will levy a sewage tax to pay for clean-ups and ban bonuses to water bosses until the discharges are stopped.

Other work

  • We will ensure greater bio-diversity in the UK so we no longer sit in the bottom 10 per cent of countries in the world for our variety of plants and animals.
  • Improve the cleanliness of our seas by using international standards as benchmarks to drive improvements. We currently fail 11 of 15 indicators of good marine health.

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