Manifestos: Environment and wildlife

Manifestos: Environment and wildlife Paul Maguire
Where do the parties stand on the environment and wildlife?

CONSERVATIVE

• Support locally-led garden cities and towns in places where communities want them, such as Ebbsfleet and Bicester.

• Ensure that brownfield land is used as much as possible for new development.

• Over the next five years, put in place stronger protections for our natural landscapes, establish a new Blue Belt to safeguard marine species, launch a programme of ‘pocket parks’ in towns and cities and continue to tackle illegal wildlife trade.

• Spend £3billion from the Common Agricultural Policy to enhance England’s countryside over the next five years to clean up rivers and lakes, protect stonewalls and hedges, and help bees to thrive.

• Ensure that public forests and woodland are kept in trust for the nation and plant another 11 million trees.

• Review the case for higher Fixed Penalty Notices for littering and allow councils to tackle small-scale fly-tipping through Fixed Penalties rather than costly prosecutions.

• Ban wild animals in circuses and press for all EU member states to ensure that animals are only sent to slaughterhouses that meet high welfare standards.

• Oppose resumption of commercial whaling, and seek further measures at the EU and internationally to end shark-finning. Will promote measures for tuna conservation, press for a total ban on ivory sales, and support the Indian Government in its efforts to protect the Asian elephant.

• Press for full ‘endangered species’ status for polar bears and a ban on the international trade in polar bear skins, as well as for greater attention to be paid to the impact of climate change on wildlife and habitats in Polar Regions in the Arctic Council and other international forums.

LABOUR

• End the badger cull.

• Keep forests in public ownership, and promote access to green spaces in local planning. Will support the work of the Natural Capital Committee to protect and improve wildlife habitats and green spaces, and make them an important part of the tourism industry.

• Improve the protection of dogs and cats, ban wild animals in circuses, defend the hunting ban and deal with wildlife crime associated with shooting.

• Ensure the development of coherent ecological networks to protect wildlife and reverse the decline of pollinators.

• Maintain current protections for the greenbelt but respect local decision making over greenbelt configuration and introduce a strengthened ‘brownfield first’ policy making sure that as much building as possible takes place on previously developed land.

• Deliver an ecologically coherent network of Marine Conservation Zones around the UK.

• Deliver a marine protected area around Pitcairn and continue to work with the UK Overseas Territories of Ascension, and South Georgia and South Sandwich on their proposals for additional protected areas.

• Produce an ambitious adaptation programme. The new Infrastructure Commission will prioritise investment in flood prevention.

• Deal with the problems of air pollution by giving local authorities the powers they need, backed up by a national framework.

recyclingLocal authority managed waste and recycling rates in England, 2000/01–2013/14 (Image: DEFRA

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS

• Expand accessible green space with new National Nature Parks chosen by local communities, and plant a tree for every child born (700,000 to 750,000 per year).

• Place the management of public forests on a sustainable footing, in line with the recommendations of the Independent Panel on Forestry.

• Improve UK enforcement of the EU Birds and Habitats Directive.

• Designate an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas with appropriate management by 2020.

• Bring forward a package of measures to protect bees and other pollinators, including legal protection for bumblebee nests.

• Set up a commission to research back-to-nature flood prevention schemes, including the role of habitats such as upland bogs and moors, woodlands, wetlands and species-rich grasslands in absorbing and holding water.

• Provide greater resources for international environmental cooperation, particularly on actions to tackle illegal trade in timber, wildlife and fish.

• Argue for an EU and global target of halting net global deforestation by 2020 – including supporting better forest law enforcement and governance and sustainable agriculture, closing loopholes in the EU Timber Regulation and ensuring that by 2020 only legal and sustainable timber products can be sold in the UK.

• Push for the creation of a marine nature reserve in the Arctic Ocean, promote the highest possible environmental standards 53 for UK companies operating in the region and press for a ban on EU-flagged vessels undertaking industrial fishing in the previously unfished areas of the Arctic.

• Make sure green industries can reach their full potential and build on successes in increasing recycling to shift towards a so-called ‘circular economy’ in which we use natural resources efficiently and minimise waste.

• Work with local government to review the governance of flood risk and land drainage, including the role of Internal Drainage Boards, and introduce high standards for flood resilience for buildings and infrastructure in flood risk areas.

• Implement programmes to help farmers and other land users adapt to climate change impacts including protecting soil and forest carbon sinks, encouraging planting in uplands and restoring flood plains.

• Review the system of approvals required by landowners to repair existing flood protection measures on their land.

The Nature Act: placing the Natural Capital Committee on a statutory footing, a requirement for government to set out a 25-year plan for recovering nature, with annual updates to Parliament, including how to reverse the decline of UK species and their habitats and ensure that bees and other insects are able to fulfill their important role as crop pollinators, the introduction of a new Public Sector Sustainability Duty, requiring steadily higher green criteria in public procurement policy, and placing requirements on public authorities to act in a sustainable manner. Creating a new public body, free from political interference and securely funded, to own and manage the national forests, transposition of EU air and water quality targets into UK law to confirm our commitments, a sustainable water abstraction regime, for the public, industry and the natural environment, and the formation of a one million square kilometre southern Atlantic Ocean reserve.

• The Resource Efficiency and Zero Waste Britain Act: implementation of recommendations from the planned ‘Stern Report’ on resource efficiency, which the Natural Capital Committee will conduct, increased penalties for waste crimes, aiming to move from an average fine of £50,000 to £75,000 and to an average sentence of 12 to 18 months, and regulation to promote design that enhances repairability, reuse and recycling, requiring specified products to be sold with parts and labour guarantee.

GREEN PARTY

• Protect, expand, properly fund and improve non-car access to National Parks and spearhead a Forest Protection Bill.

• Reduce the use of pesticides and prioritise non-chemical farming methods through improved agri-environment schemes, legislation, education and the promotion of good practice in all farming, as well as increased support for organic farming.

• Improve the management of woodlands through new planting and the local use of sustainable woodland products.

• Ensure through planning that everyone lives within five minutes’ walk of a green open space, and ensure local authorities have the resources to extend and maintain local parks. Introduce a nature improvement area in every town, city and county.

• Help bees by reducing pesticide use (banning neonicotinoids), make bees a priority species for biodiversity strategies.

• Promote landscape-scale conservation, using reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, improved agri-environment schemes and the planning system. In particular, all farm payments should be designed to protect the soil, reduce flood risk, conserve wildlife, improve water quality, increase recreation and assist carbon capture.

• Repeal the National Planning Policy Framework and in particular its presumption in favour of development, and put planning back in the hands of local people and government, while requiring local authorities to map local ecological networks and work collaboratively to develop national spatial plans.

• Create a Southern Atlantic Reserve and champion internationally the protection of the Arctic. Expand marine conservation zones.

• Produce a strategy for capturing carbon and reducing greenhouse gases through improved land management, for example by encouraging and preserving peatlands.

• Because of the interaction between water supply and the wider environment, require Ofwat (the Water Services Regulation Authority) and the Environment Agency to work together to create a healthy water environment and long-term low prices for consumers. In particular, build new reservoirs in the south and east of England.

• Prohibit developers from being allowed to destroy unique habitats by way of biodiversity offsetting elsewhere.

• Ensure that conservation of the environment of the Overseas Territories, including their marine areas, is funded to a level equal to their global significance of biodiversity. Would extend ratification of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to all uninhabited territories, and work with territory governments to agree a timeline for ratification of the Convention in all inhabited territories.

• Allocate resources to support other countries in tackling poaching and human/wildlife conflict.

• End the badger cull, end the use of snares, end the practice of grouse shooting and other sport shooting, end the use of all animals in circuses, end the use of the whip in horse racing and conduct a full review of  the sport. Take action over other sports that cause suffering to animals. Ensure greater protection for racing greyhounds and initiate a formal independent review of the industry. Ensure UK taxpayers’ money is not used to fund bullfighting.

• Work for stronger international protection of endangered sea creatures, and an end to the killing of porpoises, whales and dolphins in all waters and keeping these animals for commercial purposes.

• Work to end animal experiments but believe immediate action must be taken to stop non-medical experiments, experiments using primates, cats and dogs. Provide greater funding for non-animal research methods and link funding to a target for developing of humane alternatives to animal experiments.

• Increase national spending on recycling and waste disposal by about 50 per cent, an extra £4billion a year, so that we can do away with damaging incineration and landfill.

• Aim to recycle 70 per cent of domestic waste by 2020 as a move towards a zero-waste system.

• Reduce what we use, reuse it when we have finished with it and recycle as a last resort.

marine-zonesMarine conservation zones in English seas (Image: Marine Conservation Society)

UKIP

• Protect the UK coastal eco system by ending destructive industrial fishing practices.

• End the slaughter of dolphins by banning pair trawler fishing for bass.

SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY

• Working to improve the conditions of kept animals, including consultations on dog ownership and wild animals in traveling circuses. Review the registration of licensing of horse establishments and of tail docking dogs.

• Give consideration to further animal protection at slaughter.

• Support further animal welfare measures with a global focus. This includes action to end the illegal ivory trade and protect species such as polar bears and bluefin tuna.

PLAID CYMRU

• Commit to maintaining and restoring biodiversity.

• Set ambitious targets for recycling, based on the waste hierarchy so that the assumption is to reuse rather than recycle or send to landfill.

• Work with supermarkets and others to reduce non-biodegradable waste from the packaging.

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