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Green Lib Dems declare ‘war on waste’

A group of ‘green’ Liberal Democrats has called for landfill bans and new resource efficiency targets in a manifesto outlining policy proposals for the 2015 election campaign.

The 40-page document (file right), lays out measures to improve resource and energy efficiency in the UK and promote innovation in what they refer to as the “green sector”.

The authors, which include MPs Martin Horwood and Julian Huppert, stressed the manifesto was not about the environment as a “niche interest”. It argues the UK economy needs to be enhanced in a sustainable way.

Dan Rogerson, current waste and resource minister at Defra and Lib Dem MP, did not contribute to the drafting of the manifesto. Duncan Brack, one of the authors, said that the policy proposals will not be put forward to Defra in the run up to 2015.

He stressed the document aimed at influencing the Lib Dems’ electoral manifesto for the next election and not the current administration.

The Manifesto was produced by a group of Lib-Dem activists, the Liberal Sustainability Network, loosely affiliated to the Green Liberal Democrats.

Simon Oliver, chair of the Green Liberal Democrats, told MRW his organisation endorsed the document.

Liberal Sustainability Network proposes introducing waste reduction and resource efficiency targets for businesses, as well new design standards for products, appliances and vehicles, and a ban on landfill for non-recyclable waste.

It also suggests producing a review looking at how to reduce the consumption of natural resources and prevent waste in the UK.

This would include identifying how industrial by-products can be used as inputs for other industries and introducing binding packaging reduction targets.

The group also propose measures to enhance investments in the green sectors.

These include setting up a “green arm” within the Business Bank, a body that will support lending to small medium enterprises put forward by business secretary Vince Cable in September 2012 and currently under development.

Extending the remit of the Green Investment Bank is also among the proposals. Besides giving the bank the power to borrow from capital markets and to issue green bonds, the Green Lib Dem propose to give the bank the regulatory power to oversee a national plan for the development of green infrastructure, including waste management projects.

The bank would also support local authorities in increasing their role in the development and funding of local infrastructure. They group stressed the importance of projects such as small-scale biomass and gas-to-grid anaerobic digestion facilities.

The document was endorsed by the party president Tim Farron, who said: “The Green Manifesto shows how we need to build a green economy, because if the economy is not green it will be neither competitive nor successful.

“I wholeheartedly support its case that the green approach must lie at the core of the Liberal Democrat appeal at the 2015 election.”

The Lib Dems’ Green Manifesto comes after a group of Conservatives, the Conservative 2020, also put forward a policy paper containing proposal for improve resource efficiency and promote more-business-lead approach in waste policies.

However, while the Lib Dem Green Manifesto abundantly refers to the green sector, the Conservative 2020 report deliberately did not contain any reference to the word “green” to emphasise the economic case for improving resource efficiency over the environmental one.

  • Article updated on 12 March: In a previous version of the article we said the Green Manifesto was produced by the Green Liberal Democrats. This has now been corrected to reflect that a loose group of parliamentarians and activists, the Liberal Sustainability Network, produced the document. The Green Liberal Democrats have endorsed the Manifesto.


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