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Liberal Democrats have today published their party manifesto document, which outlines a number of clear measures that could potentially support the renewables industry to grow substantially.
ADBA’s Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton, commented:
The Liberal Democrat’s manifesto offers an exciting prospect for the renewables sector with strong, unequivocal commitments to deliver the necessary policies to support the industry’s sustained growth.
In particular, the Resource Efficiency and Zero Waste Britain Act would reinstate the Landfill Tax escalator and encourage local authorities to extend food waste collections to at least 90 per cent of homes by 2020 – delivering the vital feedstock which will increase anaerobic digestion’s capacity by sixfold. Not only will this policy help anaerobic digestion generate an extra 9.3 TWh per year, but will also reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of removing 2 million cars from our roads.
Additionally, the Zero Carbon Britain Act commitment to set a new legally binding for Zero Carbon Britain by 2050, together with extra support for the Green Investment Bank, signals strong support for low carbon renewable energy technologies, including anaerobic digestion.
In detail, key manifesto pledges include:
Waste and resource efficiency
- The Liberal Democrats would encourage the growth of anaerobic digestion to produce biogas for heat and transport, and sustainable fertiliser, working with Local Authorities to extend separate food waste collections to at least 90% of homes by 2020.
- The Liberal Democrats would introduce a Resource Efficiency and Zero Waste Britain Act.
- The Liberal Democrats would establish a coherent tax and regulatory framework for landfill, incineration and waste collection to drive continuous increases in reuse and recycling rates and ensure only non-recyclable waste is incinerated, including reinstating the Landfill Tax escalator and extending it to the lower rate and consulting on the introduction of an Incineration Tax.
- The Liberal Democrats would implementation the recommendations from their planned ‘Stern Report’ on resource efficiency, which the Natural Capital Committee will conduct.
- The Liberal Democrats would introduce 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.
- The Liberal Democrats would introduce a statutory recycling target of 70% for waste in England.
- The Liberal Democrats would introduce regulation to promote design that enhances reparability, reuse and recycling, requiring specified products to be sold with parts and labour guarantees for at least five years.
- The Liberal Democrats would commission the Natural Capital Committee to investigate the potential for other resource taxes, including deposit refund schemes
- The Liberal Democrats would pass a Zero Carbon Britain Act to set a new legally binding for Zero Carbon Britain by 2050, to be monitored and audited by the Climate Change Committee (CCC). The Climate Change Act 2008 established an aim to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 based on the 1990 baseline.
- The Liberal Democrats would set a legally binding decarbonisation target range for 2030 for the power sector of 50–100g of CO2 per kWh, which can largely be achieved by expansion of renewables, with an indicative target of 60% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030. We will support investment in energy storage and smart grid technology to enable this higher reliance on renewables.
- The Liberal Democrats would introduce Emission Performance Standards for existing coal power stations, designed to ensure electricity generation from unabated coal will stop by 2025.
- The Liberal Democrats would expand the Green Investment Bank and set a legally binding decarbonisation target to green our electricity.
- The Liberal Democrats would aim to double innovation and research spending across the economy, supported by greater public funding on a longer timescale, more ‘Catapult’ innovation and technology centres and support for green innovation from the Green Investment Bank. They will continue to ringfence the science budget and ensure that, by 2020, both capital and revenue spending have increased at least in line with inflation.
- The Liberal Democrats would increase research and development and commercialisation support in four key low-carbon technologies where Britain could lead the world: tidal power, carbon capture and storage, energy storage and ultra-low emission vehicles.
- The Liberal Democrats would encourage the creation of green financial products to bring consumer capital into green industries.
- The Liberal Democrats would make saving energy a top infrastructure priority, stimulating private sector demand with their new Electricity Demand Reduction market, new market-shaping energy efficiency standards, support for industry, particularly SMEs, and a programme of tax incentives and public investment.
- The Liberal Democrats would aim to stimulate a minimum of £100 billion more private investment in low-carbon energy infrastructure by 2020.
- The Liberal Democrats would work with the independent regulator Ofgem to ensure the costs of electricity distribution and transmission infrastructure are allocated efficiently and fairly between consumers and generators across the country, and develop more European electricity interconnection capacity
- The Liberal Democrats would regulate to end the use of unabated coal in electricity generation by 2025 because of its high carbon emissions and impact on local air quality, and require any new gas stations built after 2030 to be fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology. They will implement a second phase of CCS projects by 2020.
- The Liberal Democrats would expand community energy, building on Britain’s first ever community energy strategy with additional financial and regulatory support. We will encourage Councils to be proactive in delivering energy saving and electricity generation.
- The Liberal Democrats would encourage onshore wind in appropriate locations, helping meet our climate targets at least cost. We will end ideologically motivated interference in local planning decisions for wind farms by Government Ministers.
- The Liberal Democrats accept that new nuclear power stations can play a role in low- carbon electricity supply provided concerns about safety, disposal of waste and cost are adequately addressed and without public subsidy for new build.
- The Liberal Democrats would use biomass primarily for heating and small-scale power generation, act to encourage the wider use of biogas and argue for the reform of EU policies on biofuels and biomass which help drive deforestation, including ending all support for food-crop based biofuels after 2020.
- The Liberal Democrats would establish a Low-carbon Transition Fund using 50% of any tax revenues from shale gas to fund energy efficiency, community energy, low-carbon innovation and renewable heat.
- The Liberal Democrats would require that once a shale gas well is finished, it must be offered at no cost to geothermal heat developers, to enable faster expansion of this renewable technology.