The General Election is almost upon us, and as the race to Number 10 heats up, all political parties have now released their 2017 manifestos.
We have scanned the party manifestos of four of the main political parties to provide a run down of the key points and promises that will have an impact on the waste and resource industry.
The first of the major parties to release its manifesto, Labour says it believes that “investing in our environment is investing in our future.” The party is pledging to defend and extend existing protections, and to prioritise a sustainable future for our farming, fishing and food industries. It says it will fund robust flood resilience, invest in rural and coastal communities, and guarantee the protection and advancement of environmental quality standards.
The party’s manifesto goes on to promise a Clean Air Act, to safeguard habitats and species, promote biodiversity, and work with farmers and foresters to plant a million trees. On waste reduction, the party says it will work with food manufacturers and retailers, and set guiding targets for plastic bottle deposit schemes.
With the UK heading out of the European Union, the industry is looking for certainty over the future of environmental regulations. On the process of leaving the EU, Labour’s manifesto says it will make sure all EU-derived laws that it believes to be of benefit, including workplace, consumer rights and environmental protection laws are fully protected, stating: “A Labour government will never consider these rights a burden or accept the weakening of workers’ rights, consumer rights or environmental protections.”
The Conservative party made a promise in 2015 that it would be the ‘greenest government ever’. The party’s manifesto has renewed its pledge to be the “first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it” and promises to produce the long-awaited 25 Year Environment Plan that, it says, will chart how we will improve our environment as we leave the European Union and “take control of our environmental legislation again.”
The party has outlined plans to reduce litter by supporting comprehensive rubbish collection and recycling, and better packaging. It also indicates that if elected, the party would ‘force’ councils to clear up roadside litter and prosecute offenders.
As we leave the EU, the Conservatives have said they will enact a Great Repeal Bill which will convert EU law into UK law, meaning that the rights of workers and protections given to consumers and the environment will continue to be available in UK law at the point at which we leave the EU. Once converted into domestic law, Parliament will be able to pass legislation to amend, repeal or improve any piece of EU law it chooses.
Liberal Democrats have pledged to establish a ‘coherent tax and regulatory framework for landfill, incineration and waste collection,’ including reinstating the Landfill Tax escalator and extending it to the lower rate, and consulting on the introduction of an Incineration Tax.
The party manifesto also states that they would pass a Zero Waste Act, which would include legally-binding targets for reducing net consumption of key natural resources, and introducing incentives for businesses to improve resource efficiency. A statutory waste recycling target of 70 per cent would also be established in England, with separate food waste collections extended to at least 90 per cent of homes by 2022.
On leaving the EU, the Liberal Democrats say they will fight against a ‘hard Brexit’. They believe that the European Union has created the ‘highest environmental standards in the world’ and pledge to ensure that everything is done to maintain those high standards in UK law, including the closest possible cooperation on climate and energy policy.
From restrictions on pesticides to regulations on chemicals in toys, the Green Party’s manifesto pledges to ensure that existing environmental laws are retained, or enhanced, no matter what our future relationship is with the European Union.
The party has said it will ensure that important principles, such as the Precautionary and Polluter-Pays principles, are transposed into UK statute books. It also states that it would create a new environmental regulator to effectively monitor and enforce environmental law, which would include new statutory requirements for updates to Parliament on the state of nature and biodiversity.
They promise to ensure that all new investment in energy is directed towards clean, renewable energy, and to promote the culture of reusing and refilling, with the introduction of a bottle deposit scheme, free public water dispensers and a community refill scheme, and an end to unnecessary single-use plastics.
Keeping you informed
We will continue to keep all of our WEEE compliance and packaging compliance members, clients and partners informed of any changes to legislation following the General Election result and as the EU exit negotiations progress. If you are a WEEE or packaging compliance member and have any questions about the impact of the UK’s departure from the EU, please get in touch with a member of our team on 0845 129 7177.