GE2017 Liberal Democrat manifesto

Sorry this is so short! (and late). ‘Changing Britain’s future’ it seems does not include saying anything about the green belt (or even ‘greenbelt’) nor about brownfields.

But there is talk of enforcing house building on unwanted public sector land. No details on who decides whether or not it is unwanted or if the proposal allows for different types of public land owner.

There is talk of a land tax, and mention of a potential Tory landslide.

There is also a lot of rubbish. Well, waste to be more precise. A 70% target for recycling and also extending the landfill tax to an incineration tax.

There is also talk of a Zero-Waste Act, including legally binding targets for reducing net consumption of key natural resources, and introducing incentives for businesses to improve resource efficiency – something very high on the EU agenda too.

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GE2017: Musings on the Green Party Manifesto

The Green Party Manifesto (https://bramcotetoday.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/green-party-manifesto.pdf) has the byline of being for a “Confident and Caring Britain”. It seems we are no longer Great nor a United Kingdom.

In fact “the environment is top of the political agenda” according to the Greens.

As usual I will focus on planning and related environmental matters rather than delve into foreign, health, care etc. policies – plenty of places where those topics are discussed. So this will not take too long.

The Manifesto makes no mention of brownfields.

It makes a single reference to Green Belt – with a promise of “Strong Protection”. However there are no details of what form this strong protection will take nor how it will be stronger than the current strong protections in the National Planning Policy Framework.

One policy that may well strike a chord with residents of Bramcote is “Equality of access to nature and green spaces…”.  

In terms of energy – ‘fracking’, coal and nuclear are out and ” clean green efficient renewable energy of the future” is in. The Greens will also be “investing in community owned energy.”  No mention of either oil or gas – perhaps that is in the Scottish Green Party manifesto.  Devolution also features in a disclaimer on the back page that any policies relevant to areas that have been devolved to the Welsh Assembly would only apply to devolution-free England. The question to the answer about life the universe and everything has been known for decade. Perhaps it is high time the West Lothian question was answered.

Those of us frustrated at the long delays between land being granted planning permission and the first brick being laid would welcome “a trial of a Land Value Tax to encourage the use of vacant land and reduce speculation”.

More homes are needed. The Greens would “significantly increase the numbers of homes built to lifetime home and mobility standards over the next 5 years.”  This is important for Bramcote’s ageing population and could well help alleviate the pressure for family homes in the area.

Sadly neighbourhood plans do not feature.

But “ecologically sustainable development” does – even if the phrase is not defined.  So I looked it up. In Australia the phrase means ” ‘using, conserving and enhancing the community’s resources so that ecological processes, on which life depends, are maintained, and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be increased’.” (http://www.environment.gov.au/about-us/esd) Oh and by the way, that is the only time the prefix “ecolog-” is used in the entire Green Party manifesto.

Finally traffic. HS2 would be scrapped and so would the  national major roads programme. There would be investment in regional railways, especially in the South West and Northern England. Trains would be renationalised, buses re-regulated and walking/ cycling be promoted as the modes of transport of choice.

PS Hope you liked the green text!

 

 

 

GE17 manifesto musings: Labour’s ‘For the Many, Not the Few’

The Labour Party manifesto ‘For the Many, Not the Few’ (http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php/manifesto2017) was leaked and then published in the last few days.

It makes but one mention each of brownfield, greenbelt (sic) and green belt.

“We will prioritise brownfield sites and protect the greenbelt. We will start work on a new generation of New Towns to build the homes we need and avoid urban sprawl.”

“The balance needs resetting: our air is killing us, our farms face an uncertain future, our fish stocks are collapsing, our oceans are used as dumping grounds, and our forests, green belt, national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest are all under threat.”

While seas, bees and plastic bottles will be addressed there is nothing on how threats to green belt will be neutralised.

There is no mention of neighbourhood plans but there is a promise of more neighbourhood police.

In terms of planning, there are promises to strengthen planning authorities but no mention of neighbourhood forums. The assumption is these authorities know and act in accordance with community interests. Extra funds for local authorities are promised, paid for perhaps by a ‘land tax’.

The reasons behind so many pub closures will be reviewed to see what can be done.

Drinkers are promised ‘first class’ bus services by re regulating buses and getting councils to run them. Nottingham of course is blessed with excellent bus services, independently run, supported by ever improving council funded infrastructure: bus lanes, bus stops, robin hood cards. Retrofitting diesel buses, rather than more ‘poo buses’, is the way Labour will keep buses moving.

HS2 will be built… and extended to Scotland and perhaps elsewhere too. London’s Cross Rail 2 tunnels will also see the ‘light of day’.

The University towns of Oxford, Cambridge and… Milton Keynes will be linked by the rail Science Vale route.

Recognising the demographic time bomb, “we will ensure that local plans address the need for older people’s housing, ensuring that choice and downsizing options are readily available.”

Depending on how this pans out, it could release under occupied family homes and create communities that rescue our elderly out of loneliness. At least any raging against the dying of the light can be done in choirs not as unheard solos.

There will be investment for new school buildings and a promise to remove asbestos from existing buildings. Sadly no specific return to the Schools for the Future programme is mentioned.

Nuclear deterrence will be maintained but the nuclear power industry is mainly spoken of in terms of its potential for worldwide decommissioning work. Staying in Euratom suggest an interest in generation too. So does references to ‘no carbon’, as opposed to renewable, energy sources. Tidal lagoons get a special mention among a general warmth for renewables.

No mention of soil, shale gas, minerals or, parochially, geology.

I suspect the above won’t get prominence in reporting the manifesto contents. Thank goodness for PDFs and search functions.