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What do the UK election manifestos say about the environment?

02 Jun 2017

Following the snap call for a general election on 8 June 2017, CIEEM wrote to all of the main political parties to call on them to include in their election manifestos a commitment to maintaining, or better yet enhancing, the protection of the natural environment following the UK leaving the EU.

To date we have received responses from the Conservatives and Labour who both simply thanked us for writing to them.

We also received a response from UKIP, in which they agreed with the need for evidence-based decision-making, but added that man-made climate change is “grossly exaggerated, and unproven” and that the UK "should wait, watch, and if necessary adapt, rather than seek to mitigate warming by investing massive sums up-front to address a highly speculative and remote problem."

Below is CIEEM’s analysis of the content of the manifestos and their implications for the environment, either directly or indirectly via other areas such as Brexit and infrastructure. Click on the manifesto images to access them.

 

Conservatives

The Conservative manifesto sets out five "giant" challenges, one of which is Brexit and a changing world. Climate change, environmental degradation or biodiversity loss do not appear in the list. However, the Conservatives maintain their commitment to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than they inherited it. They will produce a comprehensive 25 Year Environment Plan that will chart how they will improve our environment as we leave the European Union and take control of our environmental legislation again.

Internationally, the Conservatives pledge to continue to lead international action against climate change, and the degradation of habitat and loss of species. They will champion greater conservation co-operation within international bodies, protecting rare species, the polar regions and international waters. The Conservatives will work with the UK’s Overseas Territory governments to create a Blue Belt of marine protection. The pledge to "press for a total ban on ivory sales" has been lost from the 2015 manifesto.

A Conservative government will give parliament the opportunity to vote on repealing the Hunting Act.

On farming, the Conservatives want to provide stability to farmers as the UK leaves the EU and set up new frameworks for supporting food production and stewardship of the countryside, and will continue to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support until the end of the parliament. They will work with farmers, food producers and environmental experts across Britain and with the devolved administrations to devise a new agri-environment system, to be introduced in the following parliament. The Conservatives will help Natural England to expand their provision of technical expertise to farmers to deliver environmental improvements on a landscape-scale, such as enriching soil fertility, planting hedgerows and building dry stone walls. The Conservatives will improve natural flood management, such as improving the quality of water courses to protect against soil erosion and damage to vulnerable habitats and communities. They will keep public forests and woodland in trust for the nation, and provide stronger protections for ancient woodland.

On fisheries, a new Conservative government will work – with the fishing industry, marine scientists, and the devolved administrations – to introduce a new regime for commercial fishing that will preserve and increase fish stocks and help to ensure prosperity for a new generation of fishermen. To provide legal certainty to our neighbours and clarity during the Brexit negotiations with the European Union, the Conservatives will withdraw the UK from the London Fisheries Convention. The Conservatives will continue they work to conserve the marine environment off the coast of the UK.

On Brexit, the Conservatives will enact the Great Repeal Bill. The Bill will convert EU law into UK law, meaning that the rights of workers and protections given to consumers and the environment by EU law will continue to be available in UK law at the point at which the UK leaves the EU. The Bill will also create the necessary powers to correct those laws that will not operate appropriately once the UK has left the EU. Once EU law has been converted into domestic law, parliament will be able to pass legislation to amend, repeal or improve any piece of EU law it chooses, as will the devolved legislatures where they have the power to do so. Unlike some of the other manifestos analysed below, the Conservative manifesto does not guarantee environmental protections and standards beyond the point at which the UK leaves the EU. The final Brexit agreement will be subject to a vote in both houses of parliament

On the economy, the Conservatives say that government must create the right regulatory framework, and will continue with the Red Tape Challenge to save £9 billion for business. They will ensure we have a regulatory environment that encourages innovation.

On science and research, the Conservatives pledge to spend more on research and development, for example, to support the development of batteries that will power a new generation of clean, efficient, electric vehicles. The Conservatives will establish funding streams to ensure investment for the long-term, and make a modern technical education available to everyone, throughout their lives, to provide the skills they need. The Conservatives assert that the UK’s long-term prosperity depends upon science, technology and innovation, and will increase the number of scientists working in the UK and enable leading scientists from around the world to work here. They will work to ensure that the UK has a regulatory environment that encourages innovation. The Conservatives will create a number of UK sovereign wealth funds, called Future Britain funds, which will hold in trust the investments of the British people, backing British infrastructure and the British economy, and which will initially be created out of revenues from shale gas extraction, dormant assets, and the receipts of sale of some public assets.

On education, the Conservatives will replace 13,000 existing technical qualifications with new qualifications, known as T-levels, across 15 routes in subjects including construction, engineering and science. They will increase the number of teaching hours by 50% to an average of 900 hours per year and make sure that each student does a three-month work placement as part of their course. Further, the Conservatives will extend reforms to the highest levels of technical qualification, and invest in further education colleges to make sure they have world-class equipment and facilities. The Conservatives will establish new institutes of technology, backed by leading employers and linked to leading universities, in every major city in England, which will provide courses at degree level and above, specialising in technical disciplines, such as STEM, whilst also providing higher-level apprenticeships and bespoke courses for employers.

On energy, the Conservatives will commission an independent review into the cost of energy, which will be asked to make recommendations as to how government can ensure that UK energy costs are as low as possible, while ensuring a reliable supply and allowing the UK to meet its 2050 carbon reduction objective.

The Conservatives want to see a diverse range of sources for Britain’s energy production. They do not believe that more large-scale onshore wind power is right for England, but will maintain the UK as a global leader in offshore wind and support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland. The Conservatives will establish an industrial energy efficiency scheme to help large companies install measures to cut their energy use, and will explore ways to harness Welsh natural resources for the generation of power. After the UK has left the EU, the Conservatives will form their energy policy based not on the way energy is generated but on its reliability and affordability, seizing the industrial opportunity that new technology presents and meeting the UK’s global commitments on climate change.

The Conservatives will develop the shale industry in Britain, which they say will only be possible if rigorous environmental protections are upheld. They will legislate to change planning law for shale applications, stating that non-fracking drilling will be treated as permitted development. Major shale planning decisions will be made the responsibility of the National Planning Regime, and a new Shale Environmental Regulator will be set up.

On transport, the Conservatives will continue their programme of strategic national investments, including HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the expansion of Heathrow Airport. The Conservatives have an ambition for Britain to lead the world in electric vehicle technology and use, and want almost every car and van to be zero-emission by 2050 – and will invest £600 million by 2020 to help achieve it. They will invest in more low-emission buses, and take action against poor air quality in urban areas.

On housing and development, the Conservatives will maintain the existing protections on designated land like the Green Belt, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In addition to the 11 million trees they are planting across the UK, they will ensure that one million more are planted in towns and cities, and place new duties on councils to consult when they wish to cut down street trees.

On waste, the Conservatives will do more to reduce litter, including by supporting recycling and better packaging,

The Conservatives will continue to use the UK aid budget in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals, and work to prevent catastrophic environmental degradation.

 

Labour

The Labour manifesto states that investing in our environment is investing in our future, saying that they will defend and extend existing environmental protections. They state that stewardship of the environment needs to be founded on sound principles and based on scientific assessments. Labour will safeguard habitats and species in the ‘blue belts’ of the UK’s marine environment. They will introduce a total ban on ivory trading, support the ban on wild animals in circuses, cease the badger cull, and continue to oppose fox hunting, deer hunting and hare coursing.

On Brexit, a Labour government would proceed with leaving the EU, but will reject a ‘no deal’ scenario. They will replace the Great Repeal Bill with an EU Rights and Protections Bill, which will ensure that there are no detrimental changes to environmental protections as a result of Brexit. Labour state that throughout the Brexit process, they will ensure that all EU-derived laws that are of benefit – including environmental protections – are fully protected without qualifications, limitations or sunset clauses. A Labour approach to Brexit will ensure there can be no rolling back of key rights and protections and that the UK does not fall behind Europe in, for example, environmental standards in the future. On any future trade deals, Labour say they will ensure deals safeguard the right to regulate in the public interest.

On the economy, Labour will support businesses to create new, highly skilled, high-paid and secure work across the country, in the sectors of the future such as renewables. They will require companies supplying national or local government to meet the high standards, including protecting the environment. Labour will ensure that businesses doing the right thing are rewarded rather than undercut or outbid by those unscrupulous few that cut corners, for example, on environmental standards. Labour will actively support international negotiations towards an Environmental Goods Agreement at the WTO, and will use trade negotiations to boost market access for British environmental goods and services, alongside support for investment into new green technologies and innovative low-carbon products. Labour is committed to ensuring environmental sustainability in the operations of British businesses around the world, and will work to tighten the rules governing corporate accountability for abuses in global supply chains.

On farming and fisheries, labour will prioritise a sustainable, long-term future for farming, fishing and food industries, fund flood resilience, invest in rural and coastal communities, and guarantee the protection and advancement of environmental quality standards. They will reconfigure agricultural and fisheries funding to support smaller traders, local economies, community benefits and sustainable practices, and will establish a science innovation fund to work with farmers and fisheries. They will work with farmers and foresters to plant a million trees of native species to promote biodiversity and better flood management, and will keep public forests in public hands. Labour will protect pollinators by prohibiting neonicotinoids as soon as our EU relationship allows us to do so.

On education, Labour will reintroduce maintenance grants for university students, and will abolish university tuition fees. On science and research, they will meet the OECD target of 3% of GDP spent on research and development by 2030, commit extra research investment, and seek to ensure access to EU-funded research and student schemes post-Brexit.

On transport, Labour will introduce a new Clean Air Act to combat poor air quality. They will invest in a modern, integrated, accessible and sustainable transport system, will complete HS2 and extend it to Scotland, complete and connect Crossrail of the North, and build Crossrail 2. They will deliver rail electrification and expansion, and encourage walking and cycling. Labour will position the UK at the forefront of the development, manufacture and use of ultra low emission vehicles, supporting the creation of clean modes of transport through investment in low emission vehicles. They will retrofit thousands of diesel buses in areas with the most severe air quality problems to Euro 6 standards. Labour recognises the need for additional airport capacity in the South East, but will guarantee that any airport expansion addresses noise issues, air quality, and the UK’s climate change obligations.

Labour will transform the UK’s energy systems, investing in new, state-of-the-art low-carbon gas and renewable electricity production, ensuring that 60% of the UK’s energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030. In order to ensure that the UK meets its climate change targets and transitions to a low-carbon economy, Labour will ban fracking and invest in new technologies such as carbon capture and storage. Labour is committed to renewable energy projects, including tidal lagoons, but will also provide a strategy focused on protecting the North Sea oil and gas industry. Nuclear will continue to be part of the UK energy supply, and Labour will support further nuclear projects. Labour will aim to meet the UK’s targets in the Climate Change Act and Paris Agreement, and deliver on international commitments to reduce emissions while mitigating the impacts of climate change on developing countries.

On waste, Labour will set guiding targets for plastic bottle deposit schemes, working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste.

On housing, Labour will insulate four million homes and will prioritise brownfield sites to protect the green belt. Labour will consult on modern standards for building zero carbon homes.

Labour will reintroduce funding for the preparation of judicial review cases, and will consult on establishing an environmental tribunal with simplified procedures to hear challenges to unlawful government decisions without engaging in prohibitively expensive processes.

Labour fully support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will develop a cross-government strategy for ensuring that they are implemented, and report annually to Parliament on performance.

 

Liberal Democrats

The LibDems propose introducing five new green laws – a Green Transport Act, a Zero-Carbon Britain Act, a Nature Act, a Green Buildings Act, and a Zero-Waste Act – which will act to incorporate existing EU environmental protections, maintain product standards such as for energy efficiency, and establish a framework for continual improvement.

On Brexit, like the Greens, the LibDems want a referendum on the final negotiated agreement with the EU – with an option to stay in the EU. The LibDems assert that we have a duty to future generations to protect our environment and tackle climate change, and as such they will ensure that environmental standards and climate change cooperation are maintained post-Brexit. The LibDems will ensure that future trade deals require high safety, environmental and animal welfare standards for food imports.

On nature protection, the LibDems will pass a Nature Act to put the Natural Capital Committee (NCC) on a statutory footing, set legally binding natural capital targets, including on biodiversity, clean air and water, and empower the NCC to recommend actions to meet these targets. They will significantly increase the amount of accessible green space, including completion of the coastal path, and create a new designation of national nature parks to protect up to one million acres of accessible green space valued by local communities. They will protect and restore England’s freshwaters by reforming water management, and will establish a ‘blue belt’ of protected marine areas. The current decline in the rate of woodland creation will be reversed by aiming to plant one tree for every UK citizen over the next 10 years, and by protecting remaining ancient woodlands.

The LibDems will establish a £2 billion flood-prevention scheme, which will include reducing upstream flooding and the knock-on effects in downstream and coastal areas.

On farming, the LibDems want agricultural subsidies to be refocused on public benefits that come from effective land management including countryside protection, flood prevention, food production and climate-change mitigation. They will suspend the use of neonicotinoids until it can be proved that they do not harm pollinators. The LibDems will develop safe, effective, humane and evidence-based ways (including investing in vaccines) of controlling bovine TB, however it is not clear whether or not they would continue with the badger cull.

On fisheries, the LibDem will defend and maintain the fishing industry by not allowing fishing rights to be traded away against other policy areas, and work with the industry and other stakeholders to develop a national plan for sustainable fisheries.

On transport, the LibDems will introduce a Green Transport Act and an Air Quality Plan. They will support the manufacture of low-emission and electric vehicles, introduce a diesel scrappage scheme, ban the sale of diesel cars and small vans in the UK by 2025, extend the ultra-low-emission zones to 10 more towns and cities, require all private hire vehicles and diesel buses licensed to operate in urban areas to run on ultra-low-emission or zero-emission fuels within five years. The LibDems will also reform vehicle taxation to encourage sales of electric and low emission vehicles and develop electric vehicle infrastructure including universal charging points. They will develop a strategic airports policy for the whole of the UK, taking full account of the impacts on climate change and local pollution. This includes opposing any expansion at Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick or any new airport in the Thames Estuary and will focus instead on improving existing regional airports such as Birmingham and Manchester. The LibDems will ensure no net increase in runways across the UK. The LibDems will continue their commitment to HS2, HS3, Crossrail 2 and rail electrification.

On energy, the LibDem will expand renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions and cut dependence on fossil fuel imports. They will pass a Zero-Carbon Britain Act to set new legally binding targets to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2040 and to zero by 2050. They will expand renewable energy (aiming to generate 60% of electricity from renewables by 2030), restore government support for solar and onshore wind in appropriate locations, support investment in new technologies (including energy storage, smart grid technology, hydrogen technologies, offshore wind, tidal power, and carbon capture and storage), and invest heavily in research and development. They will oppose fracking, but accept that new nuclear power stations can play a role in electricity supply. They will set up a British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank to mobilise investment in low-carbon and sustainable infrastructure, and support the Paris agreement by ensuring the UK meets its own climate commitments and plays a leadership role in international efforts to combat climate change. The LibDems will ensure that the National Infrastructure Commission takes account of the environmental implications of all national infrastructure decisions.

On housing, the LibDems will pass a new Green Buildings Act to set new energy-efficiency targets. They will ensure that at least four million homes are made highly energy efficient by 2022, with priority given to fuel-poor households. They will restore the zero-carbon standard for new homes and extend it to non-domestic buildings by 2022. The LibDems will expand community energy schemes, encourage councils to develop community energy-saving projects and local electricity generation, and promote city-scale demonstration projects in electric vehicles and clean energy. They will ensure that half a million affordable, energy-efficient homes are built by the end of the parliament, and create at least 10 new garden cities in England. They will create a community right of appeal in cases where planning decisions go against the approved local plan.

On education, the LibDems will reinstate maintenance grants for the poorest students. There is no mention of removing university tuition fees. They will support a major expansion of high-quality apprenticeships and develop a national skills strategy for key sectors, including low-carbon technologies.

On science and research, the LibDems will protect the science budget, including the recent £2 billion increase, by continuing to raise it at least in line with inflation. Their long-term goal is to double innovation and research spending across the economy, and will guarantee to underwrite funding for British partners in EU-funded projects such as Horizon 2020 who would suffer from cancellation of income on Brexit. They will build on the Coalition’s Industrial Strategy, creating more ‘catapult’ innovation and technology centres and backing private investment in green innovation.

On waste, the LibDems will pass a Zero-Waste Act, including legally binding targets for reducing net consumption of key natural resources, and introducing incentives for businesses to improve resource efficiency. The LibDems aim to cut waste, increase recovery, reuse and recycling and move towards the circular economy.

The LibDems will introduce a National Well-being Strategy covering all aspects of government policy, including health, housing and the environment. They will reform fiduciary duty and company purpose rules to ensure that other considerations, including environmental standards, community benefit and ethical practice, can be fully included in decisions made by directors and fund managers.

On international development, the LibDems believe that the UK must continue to play a leading role in ending poverty and promoting environmentally sustainable development, through implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They also say that the UK should provide greater resources for international environmental co-operation, particularly on climate change and on actions to tackle illegal and unsustainable trade in timber, wildlife, ivory and fish.

 

UKIP

The UKIP manifesto has a strong emphasis on Brexit, on which they say they will hold the next government to account with six tests, one of which is regaining control of UK fishing rights from the EU.

UKIP proclaims that Brexit will not put our countryside, marine environment or wildlife at risk. After Brexit, UKIP will review all EU environmental legislation and keep those regulations that have enhanced our environment, and amend or repeal those that have had a detrimental effect.

UKIP will promote evidence-based environmental schemes to protect wildlife and the countryside with a new Environmental Protection Act. They will amend the National Planning Policy Framework to protect ancient woodlands, and protect dolphins by banning the use of pair trawling for sea bass.

On farming, UKIP will maintain the same level of funding to farmers (for "genuine agricultural purposes" only) as currently provided through the Common Agricultural Policy, but with reduced regulation such as no set-aside, cropping or rotation requirements. UKIP will cap payments at £120,000 per year.

On energy and climate change, UKIP will repeal the Climate Change Act and support a diverse energy market based on coal, nuclear, shale gas, conventional gas, oil, solar and hydro, and other renewables when they can be delivered at competitive prices. Subsidies for unprofitable wind and solar schemes will be removed, and shale gas exploration will be invested in. UKIP will also withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

On transport , UKIP will scrap HS2 and any Heathrow expansion and instead support regional airport expansion, provide incentives to diesel vehicle owners to exchange them for electric or hybrid models, and in the long-term scrap Air Passenger Duty.

On housing and planning, UKIP will promote development on brownfield sites, amend planning legislation to promote inclusion of trees and open space in new developments, require new housing developments to use permeable or porous materials for garden car parking, allow binding local referenda on developments, and review statutory duties placed on local government.

On waste, UKIP will investigate the practicality of introducing a deposit scheme for plastic drinks bottles.

UKIP will abolish university tuition fees for STEM students and restore maintenance grants immediately. UKIP's long-term goal is to abolish tuition fees entirely, however the manifesto also states that UKIP will stop paying tuition fees for courses that do not lead to at least two thirds of students entering a graduate level or degree-related job within five years after graduation.

UKIP's goal is to keep red tape to the minimum necessary and will make the case for clear-cut, sensible regulation balanced with policies to encourage ethical and responsible growth.

 

Green Party

The Green Party has produced both a main manifesto and an environmental manifesto.

The Greens say that they will always act strongly on climate change and to protect the natural world. They will introduce an Environmental Protection Act to safeguard and restore our environment, protect and enhance biodiversity, promote sustainable food and farming, and ensure animal protection, and introduce a 25-year target for biodiversity, water and air quality. They will create a new environmental regulator and court. Following the Lawton principles, they will promote a network of new inter-linking local ecological spaces. All environmental regulations, monitoring and reporting will be negotiated with and alongside the devolved administrations. The Greens will establish a right for every person in the UK to have access to nature and green spaces, to enhance leisure, health and well-being. They will provide strong protection for the Green Belt, National Parks, SSSIs and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and ensure the completion of an ecologically-coherent network of marine protection areas around the UK and in the Overseas Territories, including no-take zones.

On Brexit, like the LibDems, the Greens want a referendum on the final negotiated agreement with the EU – with an option to stay in the EU. Any future trade deals must maintain environmental standards and protection and climate commitments, and Parliament must have a vote on those deals.

The Greens will use the opportunity presented by Brexit to refocus farm funding towards restoring biodiversity, sustainable land management and farming, and tackle climate change. They will ensure that any new fisheries legislation has a requirement to fish below a level that allows stocks to fully recover, and will end damaging fishing practices in protected areas.

On education, the Greens will scrap university tuition fees, fund full student grants and provide greater public investment in further and higher education. They will restore the Education Maintenance Allowance and enable apprenticeships to all qualified young people aged 16-25. An omission from the Green manifesto would appear to be wider, general investment in research, science or innovation.

On energy and climate change, the Greens will strengthen the global deal on climate change by developing a comprehensive Clean Energy Plan, which will include delivering climate justice and promoting ecologically sustainable development so that poorer countries can cope with the impacts of climate change. They will ban fracking, cancel all existing and future plans for nuclear energy, and replace coal power stations and subsidies to fossil fuels with renewable energy. The Greens will phase out fossil fuel subsidies and bring forward the coal phase-out date to 2023, divest public funds from the fossil fuel industry, ensure communities that rely on fossil fuel jobs are able to transition to a zero-carbon future, introduce new support for onshore wind farms and photovoltaics, and scale up the investment in offshore wind farms. They will create a new Green Investment and Innovation Centre to help finance the transition to a zero-carbon economy. They will invest in community-owned energy. The Greens will continue their co-operation with businesses and other countries to limit global temperature increases to well below 2 degrees Celsius and aiming for 1.5 degrees.

The Greens will invest in a national programme of home insulation, and in flood defences (including natural flood management and restoring upland habitats).

On transport, the Greens will increase investment in public transport, invest in vehicle electrification and charging infrastructure, and encourage more walking and cycling. They will scrap HS2 and invest in regional railways and electrification instead. They will cancel all airport expansion and end airline fuel subsidies. They will provide incentives to take diesel vehicles off the road, and expand and strengthen a mandatory Clean Air Zone network.

On waste, the Greens will take action to reduce plastic and other waste, including the introduction of Deposit Return Schemes, with a zero waste target. They will promote a culture of reusing and refilling through a bottle deposit scheme, free public water dispensers and a community refill scheme. They will end the use of single-use plastics, and reiterate their commitment to creating a circular economy.

 

Scottish National Party

The SNP manifesto says that they will fight to maintain and enhance EU environmental standards and regulations post-Brexit. The SNP says it will work to prevent Brexit being used to reduce the UK's climate change commitments and environmental protections.

The SNP asserts that control of agricultural funding must be returned to Scotland and fishing rights must not be used as a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations. The SNP supports either scrapping or fundamentally reforming the Common Fisheries Policy. The SNP will expect all agriculture, fisheries and environmental protection legislation to be repatriated to Scotland post-Brexit.

On energy, the SNP will support the oil and gas sector, promote oil and gas exploration activities, provide incentives to oil and gas companies to diversify into renewables, and ensure low cost green energy schemes get long-term certainty to support future development. The SNP will support investment and development of pumped hydro, batteries, and carbon capture and storage (CCS) schemes.

The SNP is calling for forestry grants to be guaranteed now to allow investment in future planting schemes, and will oppose the repeal of the Hunting Act.

 

Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru will update and consolidate Welsh wildlife legislation by creating a new Wildlife Act for Wales in order to protect Welsh wildlife and biodiversity.

On Brexit, Plaid Cymru will demand that the funding promised by the Leave campaign is delivered and that all farm support funding is replaced by the UK government. Plaid Cymru will introduce a new Climate Change Act to build upon the standards set by the EU.

Plaid Cymru will increase energy generation from renewables including tidal lagoons, establish a national electric vehicle charging network, and transfer responsibility for Welsh energy generation and natural resources to the National Assembly. Further, they will make homes more energy efficient.

At a landscape level, Plaid Cymru will oppose pylon construction in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, advocating underground/underwater cabling instead. The manifesto does not mention wind turbines in this context.

Plaid Cymru will demand that Welsh universities are properly funded and reduce plastic waste with a deposit return scheme.

 

Democratic Unionist Party

The DUP manifesto is somewhat short on environmental content. It does however argue for a new Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland which will include renewable energy.

In the Brexit negotiations, the DUP will argue for local input into new UK agricultural and fishing policies which offer sustainability and new growth opportunities. Another priority will be an appropriate support programme for farmers post-Brexit.

The DUP will advocate continued participation in EU-funded research programmes.

 

Sinn Fein

The Sinn Fein manifesto says nothing specifically on the natural environment, sustainability or climate change.

On Brexit, Sinn Fein highlights the fact that the Good Friday Agreement means that Northern Ireland can be treated differently to the rest of the UK in respect of any future UK-EU agreement.

Priorities for Sinn Fein include continued access to EU-wide research opportunities, the free movement of students, and mutual recognition of qualifications post-Brexit. Sinn Fein will also advocate continued support for farming by maintaining Common Agricultural Policy payments.

 

Social Democratic and Labour Party

On Brexit, the SDLP also highlights the fact that Northern Ireland can be treated distinctly in any future UK-EU agreement. The SDLP will seek to uphold EU environment protections and cross-border environmental, climate change, air quality and wildlife co-operation post-Brexit.

The SDLP wants devolved competences to be dealt with at the devolved level before being addressed by Westminster, and as such proposes tabling a Devolution, Rights and Environmental Standards Bill to the Assembly to ensure that departures from EU standards are subject to Assembly approval.

The SDLP will seek replacements for the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy that protect the farming and fishing industries.

The SDLP opposes both fracking and the repeal of the Hunting Act.

 

Ulster Unionist Party

At the time of writing the UUP had not released a manifesto.

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