The Tories have pledged to provide incentives for biodigestion technologies in towns and on farms to divert waste away from landfill.
Speaking at the Conservative Party conference (6 October), the Shadow Environment Energy and Climate Change Secretary Greg Clark said that immediate action was required to cut greenhouse gas emissions and give Britain leadership in a low carbon world.
He did not clarify what type of incentives the Conservatives will provide for biodigestion technologies. However, he did explain that experts say that half of our residential gas needs can be met by waste that would have gone to landfill.
Speaking after Clark, Shadow Environment Secretary Nick Herberts speech concentrated more on the need for all central Government departments to ensure the food they serve meets British standards of production.
He said that there would be fewer rural quangos under the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs umbrella if the Conservatives were in power but there was no mention about the Waste & Resources Action Programme or the Environment Agency.
Herbert said: Do you know how many quangos there are under Defra? 67. Can you guess how many staff they employ? Over 26,000. Thats a third more than WH Smith. Some of what these bodies do is valuable. But who do they answer to? Unaccountable quangos let the Government off the hook when Ministers should be held responsible.
Herbert said that the Conservative Government will be a green Government.
He explained: We cannot live beyond our economic means. But neither can we live beyond our environmental means. The resources of this planet are no more infinite than the Treasurys reserves. We must learn to use them sustainably.
So dont be in any doubt: Our green agenda isnt an optional extra. The environment cannot be an afterthought. Going green is intrinsic to modern conservatism.
Commenting on the environmental speeches at the Conservative party conference, Friends of the Earth executive director Andy Atkins said: The coming years are critical in the battle against global warming the next UK Government must make tackling climate change its top priority.
Greg Clarks enthusiasm for a low-carbon economy is obvious. He recognises the huge social and economic opportunities of action to cut emissions but we should be getting a far more detailed, coherent and ambitious policy so close to a general election.
Other Conservative proposals include:
- A Green Deal scheme that will help people to make energy efficiency improvements of up to £6,500 that reduce fuel bills;
- A pledge to upgrade the National Grid into a smart grid for the 21st Century.