Conservative Party claims to have been part of “greenest government everâ€? and pledges investment in zero emission vehicles
The Conservative Party claim it will “do even moreâ€? to tackle air pollution by investing millions in zero emission vehicles and cycling safety if elected to govern the UK at the upcoming General Election 2015.
Launched in Swindon today (April 14) by Prime Minister David Cameron, the Conservative’s 2015 election manifesto lauds the party’s achievement as part of the “greenest government everâ€?, and highlights the billions of pounds it has committed to “reduce emissions from transport and clean up our rivers and seasâ€? over the last five years.
The manifesto also pledges to invest more money in railways and roads, as well as committing more power over transport to local areas.
The document states: “We will continue to do even more to tackle air pollution and clean up our rivers and waterways, including supporting the Thames Tideway Tunnel.â€?
Seeking to win its first overall majority in a General Election since 1992, the Conservatives say they will aim for “almost every car and vanâ€? to a zero emission vehicle by 2050 and will invest £500 million over the next five years to this end.
In addition, the Party says it wants to double the number of journeys made by bicycle and will invest £200 million in safer cycling in order to “reduce the number of cyclists and other road users killed or injured on our roads every yearâ€?.
The manifesto also praises the Conservative’s work in government on abolishing the fuel duty escalator, and reiterates its plans to spend £15 billion on building new roads in the UK. Furthermore, Party says it will work with the Automotive Council “in support of our resurgent car industryâ€?.
And, with regards to rail travel, the Party has pledged to keep commuter rail fares frozen in real terms for the whole of the next parliament, while investing £38 billion in the railway network up to 2019.
The Party sates: “We will build new roads and railways in a way that limits, as far as possible, their impact on the environment.â€?
Despite pledging to keep council taxes low, there are also plans to devolve more powers over planning and transport to local authorities in the manifesto, including a pledge to set out legislation to introduce a directly-elected Mayor in Manchester, who would have similar powers to those of the Mayor of London.
According to the manifesto, the Conservatives “will devolve far-reaching powers over economic development, transport and social care to large cities which choose to have elected mayorsâ€?.
Importantly however, given the air pollution limits set out at EU level and currently being reviewed as part of the proposed Clean Air Package, the Conservatives have also set out plans to hold a referendum in 2017 on whether or not the UK should remain a member of the European Union.
The Party believes the EU is “too bureaucraticâ€? and “too undemocraticâ€?, adding: “We want national parliaments to be able to work together to block unwanted European legislation.â€?
The launch of the Conservative Party manifesto today follows the Labour Party’s manifesto launch yesterday (April 13), which pledges a national framework for low emission zones in the UK (see AirQualityNews.com story).
Meanwhile, the Green Party also launched its manifesto today, having set out its policies on air quality on Friday, including a £30 per head spend on measures to encouragewalking and cycling (see AirQualityNews.com story).
The Liberal Democrats have already pledged a £100 million low emission vehicle prize fund but are expected to launch their 2015 manifesto this week.