The Liberal Democrats have pledged to include proposals for legislation for ‘a zero waste Britain’ in their manifesto at the general election next May.
A Parliamentary bill to that effect is one of five new environmental laws promised by energy secretary Ed Davey. The others relate to nature, heating and energy efficiency, decarbonisation and transport.
The party says it wants to “build on their achievements in Government” in areas including renewable energy, the Green Investment Bank (GIB) and investment in railways.
The Zero Waste Britain Bill would include the establishment of a Stern-style report on resource use, with binding targets and an action plan to reduce waste and end biodegradable waste to landfill. The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change was prepared for the Government in 2006, warning that the world had to act on climate change or face devastating economic consequences. The author was Sir Nicholas Stern, a former chief economist of the World Bank.
The Lib Dems’ other ‘green’ laws concern:
- Zero carbon: a decarbonisation target for electricity generation, expanding the powers of the GIB and banning electricity generated from unabated coal.
- Heating and energy efficiency: a national programme to raise the energy efficiency standards for all Britain’s households, plus legislation to boost renewable and district heating programmes and heat saving standards.
- Transport: establishing a full network of charging points for electric cars, allowing only low-emission vehicles on the roads from 2040 and reforming planning law to ensure new developments are designed around walking, cycling and public transport.
- Nature: legal targets for biodiversity, clean air, clean water and access to green space, extending the Right to Roam and establishing new marine and coastal reserves.
Davey said: “The environment has always been a top priority for the Liberal Democrats and, while we have achieved a huge amount on our green agenda in the coalition, it is hardly a secret that this has been one of the biggest areas of tension.
“Liberal Democrats see our duty to protect our environment for future generations as a central political and moral challenge. This is not something we can, or should, try to sidestep.
“In this Parliament, we have made a big step forward particularly on green energy, but other areas have not seen such progress. So we want to use the next Parliament to make a major leap forward on the environmental agenda.”