The Conservative Party officially launched its new manifesto.
As expected it talks about many items with a wide remit, but Elmhurst have taken the elements that refer to climate change and affect energy and energy use specifically in buildings. The following is hopefully a quick synopsis guide to the ambitions of the Conservative Party which we will also provide for the other major parties when published
Elmhurst are not political, but we feel it important to understand the claims by leading political parties in the energy efficiency sector.
The first mention appears on Page 12, with a commitment by the Conservatives to deliver:
“Competitive and affordable energy costs following a new independent review into the cost of energy.”
In a commitment to business:
Pg 19. “We will ensure industry and businesses have access to reliable, cheap and clean power.”
The conservatives back Shale Gas with:
Pg 20. “We will create a number of such funds, known as Future Britain funds, which will hold in trust the investments of the British people, backing British infrastructure and the British economy. We anticipate early funds being created out of revenues from shale gas extraction...”
Under a Competitive and affordable energy costs section, they state:
Pg 22. “A successful industrial strategy requires competitive and affordable energy costs. We want to make sure that the cost of energy in Britain is internationally competitive, both for businesses and households.
We will therefore commission an independent review into the Cost of Energy, which will be asked to make recommendations as to how we can ensure UK energy costs are as low as possible, while ensuring a reliable supply and allowing us to meet our 2050 carbon reduction objective.
Our ambition is that the UK should have the lowest energy costs in Europe, both for households and businesses. So as we upgrade our energy infrastructure, we will do it in an affordable way, consistent with that ambition. And because for British companies, an energy-efficient business is a more competitive business, we will establish an industrial energy efficiency scheme to help large companies install measures to cut their energy use and their bills.”
They wish to support a diverse energy mix and support wind turbines but only in remote islands of Scotland but not England:
Pg 22. “ We want to see a diverse range of sources for Britain’s energy production, because a diverse energy economy is the best way to stimulate innovation, and also to ensure that we are getting the right generation in the right place. For instance, while we do not believe that more large-scale onshore wind power is right for England, we will maintain our position as a global leader in offshore wind and support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland, where they will directly benefit local communities.”
They further heavily back shale gas quoting the US as an example of its success:
Pg 23. “The discovery and extraction of shale gas in the United States has been a revolution. Gas prices have fallen, driving growth in the American economy and pushing down prices for consumers. The US has become less reliant on imported foreign energy and is more secure as a result. And because shale is cleaner than coal, it can also help reduce carbon emissions. We believe that shale energy has the potential to do the same thing in Britain, and could play a crucial role in rebalancing our economy.
We will therefore develop the shale industry in Britain. We will only be able to do so if we maintain public confidence in the process, if we uphold our rigorous environmental protections, and if we ensure the proceeds of the wealth generated by shale energy are shared with the communities affected.
We will legislate to change planning law for shale applications. Non-fracking drilling will be treated as permitted development, expert planning functions will be established to support local councils, and, when necessary, major shale planning decisions will be made the responsibility of the National Planning Regime.
We will set up a new Shale Environmental Regulator, which will assume the relevant functions of the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This will provide clear governance and accountability, become a source of expertise, and allow decisions to be made fairly but swiftly.
Finally, we will change the proposed Shale Wealth Fund so a greater percentage of the tax revenues from shale gas directly benefit the communities that host the extraction sites. Where communities decide that it is right for them, we will allow payments to be made directly to local people themselves. A significant share of the remaining tax revenues will be invested for the benefit of the country at large.”
Elmhurst previously noted the importance of the Great Repeal Bill, and the manifesto makes the pledge that EU environmental law has been good for UK and will continue in a post Brexit world:
Pg 36. “We will enact a Great Repeal Bill. Our laws will be made in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, and interpreted by judges across the United Kingdom, not in Luxembourg. The bill will convert EU law into UK law, allowing businesses and individuals to go about life knowing that the rules have not changed overnight. This approach means 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 we leave the EU.”
In protecting the global environment, the Conservatives promote the Paris Agreement and note 2050 goal of carbon emissions reduction:
Pg 40. “The United Kingdom will lead the world in environmental protection. As Conservatives, we are committed to leaving the environment in better condition than we inherited it. That is why we will continue to take a lead in global action against climate change, as the government demonstrated by ratifying the Paris Agreement. We were the first country to introduce a Climate Change Act, which Conservatives helped to frame, and we are halfway towards meeting our 2050 goal of reducing emissions by eighty per cent from 1990 levels.”
They re-enforce the mandate of smart meters for all by 2020:
Pg 60. “we will ensure that smart meters will be offered to every household and business by the end of 2020, giving people control over their energy bills that they have not had before.”
In the already stated move to cap energy prices they state:
Pg 60. “We will go further. We will introduce a safeguard tariff cap that will extend the price protection currently in place for some vulnerable customers to more customers on the poorest value tariffs. We will maintain the competitive element of the retail energy market by supporting initiatives to make the switching process easier and more reliable, but the safeguard tariff cap will protect customers who do not switch against abusive price increases.”
The Conservatives then state they will also set a benchmark of energy efficiency targets in fuel poor homes and also review the requirements for new builds:
Pg 60. “Alongside giving individuals greater control over their energy bills and protecting customers from unfair bills, we will help them to save energy. An energy efficient home is a more affordable and healthy home. We will improve the energy efficiency of existing homes, especially for the least well off, by committing to upgrading all fuel poor homes to EPC Band C by 2030. We will also review requirements on new homes.”
They also state they will stop the payment of winter fuel to all pensioners, clarifying:
Pg 66. “So we will meanstest Winter Fuel Payments, focusing assistance on the least well-off pensioners, who are most at risk of fuel poverty.”
In housebuilding section they recognise that not enough homes have been built, so they state
“We will meet our 2015 commitment to deliver a million homes by the end of 2020 and we will deliver half a million more by the end of 2022.”
They make commitment to help councils build new homes, but:
“So we will help councils to build, but only those councils who will build high-quality, sustainable and integrated communities.”
They recognise the digital age and:
Pg 81. “Smart grids will make the most efficient use of our electricity infrastructure and electric vehicles,”
In another nod to the digital future they will open up more data:
Pg 82. “We will use digital technology to release massive value from our land that currently is simply not realised, introducing greater specialisation in the property development industry and far greater transparency for buyers. To make this happen, we will combine the relevant parts of HM Land Registry, Ordnance Survey, the Valuation Office Agency, the Hydrographic Office and Geological Survey to create a comprehensive geospatial data body within government, the largest repository of open land data in the world. This new body will set the standards to digitise the planning process and help create the most comprehensive digital map of Britain to date. In doing so, it will support a vibrant and innovative digital economy, ranging from innovative tools to help people and developers build to virtual mapping of Britain for use in video games and virtual reality.”
Elmhurst have provided all the parties with a copy of the Elmhurst Manifesto and ask that they commit to creating an energy efficient society.
We hope you find this synopsis useful, but the full manifesto can be found below.
For the full Manifesto: https://www.conservatives.com/manifesto