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Green Tories call on PM to harness environment’s electoral edge

Today, the Conservative Environment Network has launched its 10 point plan, ‘Taking root’, which outlines bold and practical policies on the environment for this election to harness the electoral opportunity the environment offers both nationally and locally.

The environment has always been a key priority for the public. Conservative environmentalists have played a significant role in lowering our carbon emissions by 50%, improved our energy security by building the biggest five offshore wind farms in the world, and rewarded nature-friendly farming through the Environmental Land Management schemes. 

Our plan sets out an ambitious, yet practical approach to net zero and nature restoration that brings people with us and enhances their quality of life. It puts forward evidence-based policies based on harnessing market forces, growing our economy, strengthening local communities, and respecting individual choice.

Some key policy recommendations are: 

  • Stop large EU fishing vessels from damaging our marine environment and wildlife. In UK Marine Protected Areas, just 6% of suspected bottom trawling activity is carried out by UK vessels, whilst over a quarter of this damaging activity is suspected to be done by just ten EU vessels.

  • Maintain the nature-friendly farming budget in real terms for the next parliament

  • Confirm proposals to require solar panels on new homes and commercial buildings.

  • Replenish and extend the grant scheme for farmers to install solar panels on their barn roofs, using the inflation-linked sustainable farming budget.

  • Place a duty on Network Rail to prioritise open access operator applications to increase competition on the railways where there is spare capacity, incentivising operators to drive down fares and improve the customer experience. 

  • Modernise port infrastructure for offshore wind, with fast-tracked planning decisions and a revenue certainty mechanism to enable ports to invest in new facilities, expand capacity, and deepen their harbours to manage increasingly large offshore wind infrastructure.

  • Make funding available to community groups, to support the ‘little platoons’ seeking to deliver the aspirations of Local Nature Recovery Strategies and to improve nature near to their homes. 

  • Offer community groups the chance to buy at a discount disused public land or ownerless land for the purpose of nature restoration near to where people live.  

Commenting, the Director of CEN, Sam Hall said:

“The environment has consistently been among the public’s top five issues during this parliament. To respond to voters’ concerns, as well as tackle the serious environmental threats to our prosperity and security, parties would be electorally wise to set out bold and practical policies to tackle climate change and restore nature at this election. Parties should be competing over how to improve the environment, rather than whether climate change or nature loss are problems. 

“This 10 point plan seeks to build on the environmental achievements of successive Conservative governments, such as the rollout of nature-friendly farming payments and the expansion of the Blue Belt of marine reserves around the UK Overseas Territories. It provides ambitious, yet pragmatic solutions to pressing issues like energy inefficient homes, expensive trains, polluted rivers, and low levels of tree cover.

“The Conservatives should not cede environmental leadership to the left. They should put forward a positive environmental agenda for the next parliament that will protect our communities, our country, and our planet for generations to come.” 


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