An environment fit for us all, now and in the future
Labour’s policy on the environment, on climate change and on-air pollution is clear.
Our environment, just like our economy, is for the many and not just the few. It is vital to our prosperity and we must protect it. And that goes both for us and for future generations. We owe it to ourselves, our grandchildren and their children to protect our environment. We must pass it on to future generations in a better state than the one when it was passed on to us by previous generations.
But our air is polluted, our climate is changing, our farms face an uncertain future, our fish stocks are collapsing, our oceans are used as dumping grounds. Our forests, green belt, national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest are all under threat.
We all need to accept and understand that investing in our environment is investing in our future.
The science is clear – air pollution is damaging our health. Basingstoke is not immune. There is a growing body of evidence that parts of our Town have unacceptably high levels of dirty air. We need a new Clean Air Act to deal with the Tory legacy of illegal air quality. We need direct action in Basingstoke to reduce the lethal levels of air pollution that some parts of our Town are experiencing.
Tackling climate change is non-negotiable, yet in recent years we have seen a failure to progress towards our targets. A Labour Government will put us back on track to meet our international commitments and to preserve the Paris Agreement. Transitioning to a low-carbon and clean economy is the most important thing we must do for our children, our grandchildren and future generations.
We need to ensure that 60% of the UK’s energy comes from low or renewable sources by 2030. We will ban fracking. To allow fracking would lock us into an energy infrastructure based on fossil fuels.
The UK energy system is outdated, expensive and polluting. Privatisation has failed to deliver an energy system that produces clean, affordable and secure energy for our people, our businesses or our environment. In Basingstoke, we are not pulling our weight or stepping up to our responsibilities. Nationally the UK generates 14% of its energy needs from low carbon sources. In contrast, in Basingstoke, that amount is less than 2%. We need to invest in local renewable energy infrastructure in and around our Borough. We want an overhaul of our energy infrastructure to make it fit for the future.
Better energy efficiency is critical if we are to meet our climate change goals. Labour will insulate four million homes as an infrastructure priority to help those who suffer in cold homes each winter. This will cut emissions, drive growth, improve health, increase energy security, save on bills and reduce fuel poverty and excess winter deaths.
We need to invest far more in the existing housing stock in our town to improve not simply the insulation or energy profile of properties, but because these actions will help people with rising fuel costs. Locally we must do much more to identify households that are in fuel poverty and provide better insulation.
Thinking Nationally and Delivering Locally
Delivering on a better environment will require not just national policy but also local action. Our 20 Labour Councillors have, over the last seven years, fought hard to protect our local environment. They continue to fight for our environment.
They have supported local campaigners in getting the Council to allocate £25 million to an Alternative Investment Fund which will invest in low carbon technologies. Labour Councillors have supported the installation of community and Council owned solar PV schemes in Popley and Brookvale.
Despite opposition from both the Tories and Lib-Dems, our Labour Councillors have consistently supported and encouraged new wind and solar farms in the Borough.
They have been pushing for weekly food waste collections and for greater recycling and have fought to keep our waste tips open for longer.
With support from local campaigners, Basingstoke Council has now adopted a local plan with an explicit target to “Generate 15% of the borough’s energy needs for renewables by 2020”. Whilst this is not unique, ours is one of few Councils in the UK to adopt such a target. Our Labour Group supported that target.
Labour’s Manifesto for our Environment: Leading Richer Lives
Nationally and locally, Labour will put in place the policies that will deliver an environment that is fit for us, our children and grandchildren. An environment for the many and not just the few.
You can find out more about Labour policies on climate change, air pollution, the environment and animal welfare in our Manifesto.