Party’s manifesto pledges to scrap Climate Change Act, road tolls and end UK’s inclusion in Large Combustion Plant Directive
UKIP has set out its opposition to a host of European Union regulations impacting on air quality in its General Election manifesto today (April 15).
Launched in Thurrock, Essex, this morning, the most high profile issue in the manifesto is that of EU membership, which if the UK ended could have a significant impact on EU air quality legislation currently being discussed, as well as the UK’s current failure to meet nitrogen dioxide limits, over which the government currently faces court action and possible fines.
The Party has repeatedly called for the UK to leave the EU, which it describes as a “sham democracyâ€?, although it says this does have to stop the UK’s ability to trade with EU members.
On energy generation, the 76-page manifesto firmly supports “remarkably unproblematicâ€? shale gas fracking and says it would scrap the Climate Change Act.
It also pledges more support for the coal mining industry and to develop “new, efficientâ€? coal plants with private funding because “30% of our electricity is still produced form coal and we will be dependent on fossil fuels for many years to comeâ€?.
And, it pledges to end the UK’s inclusion in the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive, which sets air pollution emissions limits on power plants and over which the UK is currently facing court action (see AirQualityNews.com story).
The manifesto adds: “UKIP will abolish green taxes and levies and withdraw from the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, reducing fuel bills and enhancing industrial competitiveness at a stroke.â€?
UKIP also specifically highlights the benefits of leaving the EU with regards to heavy good vehicles (HGVs), operators of which are currently required to comply with the EU HGV road user levy.
“The three old parties collude to reinforce failing energy policies that will do nothing to reduce global emissions, but which will bring hardship to British families. Their ‘green’ agenda does not make them friends of the earth; it makes them enemies of the people.â€? – UKIP’s energy spokesman, MEP Roger Helmer.
Furthermore, the Party also opposes ‘pay-as-you-go’ road charging schemes, including EU requirements from October 2015 for all new cars to be fitted with a GPS tracking ‘eCall’ system, which UKIP states “would enable introduction of a Europe-wide road pricing system, on a miles travelled basis, which the EU Transport Commissioner is keen to introduceâ€?.
Other UKIP transport policies including scrapping UK road tolls where possible as “motorists are already taxed highly enough through fuel and vehicle taxesâ€?, as well as scrapping controversial HS2 high speed rail plans.
And, on airport capacity, the Party says it will await the findings of the Davies Commission later this year before taking a position “on the basis of what we genuinely believe to be in the long-term best interests of the countryâ€?, but its favoured plan would not be to expand either Gatwick or Heathrow.
The manifesto adds: “However, we firmly believe that part of the solution to address the lack of airport capacity in the South East is to re-open Manston Airport. Manston is ideally placed to take low-cost airlines and freight-only aircraft; it is close to the railway network; enjoys good connections to Ashford International; will release additional capacity in the region; and take pressure off other airports.â€?
UKIP’s energy spokesman, MEP Roger Helmer, states in the manifesto: “The three old parties collude to reinforce failing energy policies that will do nothing to reduce global emissions, but which will bring hardship to British families. Their ‘green’ agenda does not make them friends of the earth; it makes them enemies of the people.â€?
Labour launched its 86-page manifesto on Monday (April 13), ahead of the Conservative Party’s 83-page manifesto yesterday (April 14). The Green Party also launched its manifesto yesterday, while the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto was launched earlier today (see AirQualityNews.com story).