Liberal Democrats set out bold green plan to build a brighter future

The Liberal Democrats have set out ambitious plans to tackle the climate emergency by generating 80% of electricity from renewables by 2030 and insulating all low-income homes by 2025.

As one of the party’s key priorities in their ‘Plan for a Brighter Future’, the Liberal Democrats have committed to raising the energy efficiency standards for new homes alongside investing £15 billion over the next Parliament to retrofit 26 million homes. This would save the average household £550 a year on energy bills.

The party has also announced a Liberal Democrat government would prioritise accelerating the deployment of renewable power generation, including a new target of doubling solar and wind power by 2030.

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Climate Emergency, said:

The climate crisis is doing irreversible damage to our planet. The Liberal Democrats are committed to Climate Action Now so we can protect our planet for future generations.

The Tories have banned on-shore wind, slashed support for solar power and cancelled the Green Deal. They are persistently hindering and delaying Climate Action delay. That is no better than Climate Change denial.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party who have a clear, ambitious plan to cut harmful emissions by 2030 and get to net zero by 2045. We would raise efficiency standards of every home and more than double the amount of electricity we generate from renewables.

Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for a Prime Minister that will deliver a bold green plan to build a brighter future.

Two highlights of the plan are;

Home Insulation

Liberal Democrats aim to upgrade every house in the UK by 2030 to Band B EPC rating, prioritising all fuel poor homes by 2025.

50% of UK homes are rated EPC Band D, upgrading those homes to Band B will save the average home £550 a year – people will save money if their EPC Band is lower (E, F, G). Source: English Housing Survey 2017 to 2018.

Liberal Democrats will use £3 billion capital spend a year on home insulation over the next parliament (£15 billion over 5 years) – this will be used to incentivise households to upgrade their homes and also to provide fully subsidised home upgrades to those in fuel poverty. This spending will also leverage an extra £4.3 billion from private sources.

Renewable energy

The Government currently projects that the renewable share of energy generation will rise to 59% in 2030. The Liberal Democrats’ target is to increase it to 80% by 2030.

By 2030 a Liberal Democrat government will have more than doubled the amount of wind power (both on-shore and off-shore) and solar power compared to 2018.

This means increasing from 21 Gigawatts of wind power capacity in 2018 to 53 Gigawatts by 2030 and solar increasing from 12 Gigawatts in 2018 to 30 Gigawatts by 2030.

Tidal power generated just 0.02 Gigawatts in 2018, but could generate up to 10% of predictable long-term power. Liberal Democrats will reserve specific pots of funding for contracts for tidal sources, to allow greater support to develop these new technologies.

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43 Comments

  • A large chunk of this money will be wasted by overcharging by contractors. The big incentive for solar panels is fitting smart meters that run backwards and getting rid of standing charges, allowing the owner full benefit of solar power generated (which will be used by industry during the day). It is also important that a cut-out switch is included in the system so that during a blackout the panels still supply power to the property but not the grid, thus giving the house owner full independence in times of chaos, which given climate change are likely to be more frequent.

    The current trend for huge expanses of glass in houses is often ruinous for thermal efficiency, cavity wall insulation by comparison a rather pointless indulgence which often causes damp ingress in older properties. Secondary glazing using double or even triple glazing, on the other hand, really does slash energy usage and allows older windows to remain in place (saving them from landfill).

    More thought and less enthusiasm for throwing away huge chunks of public money needed. Also the absurdity of councils fining people who fit their own windows if not approved by the building inspector needs to be abolished (surely a pure bit of Liberalism as such actions do no harm to others).

  • mattwardman2000 7th Nov '19 - 9:56am

    Writing as someone who has renovated a dozen houses built from all periods 1850-1980, those home improvement costings are roughly an order of magnitude out (at least), unless there are some very special words I cannot detect which will generate about 90-95% of the investment from somewhere else.

    This is a vapourware auction.

    £19.3bn in total is under £700 per house.

    For a comparison, just rolling in loft insulation in a normal small semi will cost someone towards half of that figure. Putting in loft insulation alone from scratch will save perhaps 5-10% – but most of the stock already has some of that as it is low hanging fruit.

    Double glazing for a similar house is 4-5k, and a ASHP system is 5-10k. EWI would be more like 12-15k.

    If stuff is being done by a government it is likely to be far more expensive due to the bureaucracy. Having explored External Insulation Programmes by LAs, the programme organiser may add 50% over the cost of the actual contractor.

    And of course, EPC has never been a meaningful measure for bills as it is based around C02 emissions – and has been fundamentally updated since the 2017-18 figures (read 2016 as they take a year to come out) used above. Due to the successful progress on decarbonisation of our energy supply electric heating is now rated roughly as good as gas for C02. If we want to incentivise better insulation etc, prices probably need to go *up*.

    Surprised Ed Davey let this through; whatever else he does he can definitely add up.

    Anyhow, in the absence of a proper justification (which may emerge) I am way beyond sceptical.

  • David Lonsdale 7th Nov '19 - 10:13am

    In my area there are many new houses being built and the population is massively increasing. It seems all the new developments are planned on the assumption that occupants will have access to cars in order to live reasonably “normal” lives, any intended public transport provision being minimal. Can we expect to see this situation change should you be in, or part of, government?

  • nigel hunter 7th Nov '19 - 11:16am

    2 comments that must be taken onboard and analysed.

  • Laurence Cox 7th Nov '19 - 11:34am

    The Green Party’s £100 bn per year for 10 years is a more realistic costing for what we need to do.

  • nigel hunter 7th Nov '19 - 11:45am

    All new housing developments should be geared to electric cars AND buses. It is important for bus services to be built into housing areas. Cars mean the use of raw materials that will be come increasingly scarce. One bus uses less material than many
    .cars and can conserve the raw materials needed.

  • £3 billion per year seems pitiful. How about £10 billion per year, with the additional money going to renewable energy, factory energy efficiency, electric vehicles and public transport?

  • David Becket 7th Nov '19 - 12:23pm

    We need to do a LOT better than this. Greens and Labour are will ahead of us. Thomas and Jenny are right. If this is the best Wera can do we had better get Ed back. I doubt of the leaders read LDV, but the comments here need to go to Jo, Wera and Ed quickly.
    We are offering trinkets that do not solve the problem, without challenging people to change. If we do not improve this offering, within days, Jo can give up any idea of being PM. Come on Lib Dems we can do better than this

  • mattwardman2000 7th Nov '19 - 12:24pm

    >In my area there are many new houses being built and the population is massively increasing. It seems all the new developments are planned on the assumption that occupants will have access to cars in order to live reasonably “normal” lives, any intended public transport provision being minimal.

    This is difficult – if cars are planned out, what are wheelchair users and eg frail elderly people who cannot walk supposed to do? You might argue against that depending on sustainability of the site.

    The huge issues that are not addressed are:

    – The only part of housing with no energy improvement regulation in place is owner occupied. These are the richer people – why should they be subsidised. Try differential Council Tax based on EPC (the only measurement we have) or an extra 2% on Stamp Duty for properties below C band.

    These put out far more C02 than newbuild.

    – Newbuild to zero carbon is easy these days, without any need for techno-gimmicks are were used in the days of Code for Sustainable Homes. Set a high standard and let the market meet it through higher quality fabric,

    – A huge issue is enforcement of building standards. Wander round a new estate with an IR camera and spot the poor attention to detail. Enforcement needs to be on all units, not on one in ten or one in fifty.

    Though I am not a LD, I think my suggestions above meet the trad LD policy style of a combination of some centralism, but mainly leaving room for varied solutions.

  • Ross McLean 7th Nov '19 - 1:24pm

    Worth saying this is not the full manifesto. That is still to come, and I’m sure will have lots more detail – including (I imagine) electric cars. This is just a very broad-brush introduction to the party’s policy approach. Lets wait to see the full detail before ripping it apart too much.

  • David Allen 7th Nov '19 - 1:45pm

    £3 billion is a fraction of 1% of our total tax revenue. As Thomas says, pathetically small. Labour have gone for £25 billion. That sounds more realistic.

    The £100 billion figure from the Greens is no doubt what it would actually take to overcome the climate crisis. But it’s unaffordable. There does come a point when an overambitious promise, however honestly given, is really just a lie in the making. Because the money markets, or lorry drivers blocking the M1, or an anti-Extinction-Rebellion rebellion, will eventually force you to break that promise.

    However – If our final “offer” is going to raise much higher than the £3 billion on the table – Then it’s high time we put the final figure on the table!

  • David Becket 7th Nov '19 - 2:03pm

    OK Ross, I will wait. However at the moment Greens and Labour are streets ahead.

  • David Wright 7th Nov '19 - 4:00pm

    Scientists the world over are saying in no uncertain terms that we now have approximately 10 years in which to tackle climate change before it’s too late. This is a massive challenge which necessarily needs to be addressed at a global level.
    So what type of government do we need in the UK over the next 10 years or so?
    A bunch of right-wing populists who still don’t believe that climate change is real? And even if they did, they’ll be far too busy re-inventing the wheels of commerce to do anything about it any time soon!
    OR
    A party which is committed to collaborating with our neighbours and the wider world to tackle climate change urgently and effectively.
    Answers on a ballot paper on December 12th . . .

  • Why is it suddenly an emergency? What happened? Greta? ER?

  • Jenny barnes 7th Nov '19 - 9:13pm

    Why ? Because we’ve wasted 30+ years, inwhich time Co2 emissions have risen 50% and global temperatures about one degree

  • How much of that one degree was due to warming up from the Little Ice Age (1550-1850)?

  • David Wright 7th Nov '19 - 11:19pm

    It is all too easy to be cynical about pragmatic steps towards a greener existence. There is no realistic prospect of people abandoning their cars in the sort of numbers Jenny would like. Electric cars offer a valuable stepping stone away from fossil fuel powered vehicles. As electricity generation shifts in favour of renewables the associated emissions will diminish considerably. There is an old saying “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”.

  • Denis Mollison 8th Nov '19 - 8:33am

    @Peter – “How much of that one degree was due to warming up from the Little Ice Age (1550-1850)?” I not quite sure what you mean, but think the answer is “none of it”.
    Temperature was fairly stable in the early 20th C, and has risen by 1 degree since then, with the trend much steeper since around 1980. And I think if it wasn’t for our adding so much CO2 to the atmosphere we would have been expecting another “little ice age” instead.

  • Laurence Cox 8th Nov '19 - 11:44am

    @David Allen

    One can do some back of the envelope costs based on current costings for the different electricity sources:

    Going from 21 to 53 GW of wind power will cost £17 bn (all onshore) to £28 bn (all offshore)
    Going from 12 to 30 GW solar will cost £12 bn
    10% of total current electric power generation is 8.3 GW, so that would be 25 Swansea Bay lagoons @ £1.3 bn or £32 bn

    Also we import much more electricity from France and the Netherlands over the interconnectors than we send them (19 TWh in 2018) which corresponds to an extra 2 GW (say £1-1.5 bn)

    Totalling this all up gives £62-73 bn, just to replace existing electricity supply without even switching from gas to electricity with air source heat pumps for heating, and we haven’t even considered the cost of storing electricity (batteries or pumped storage) or of strengthening the National Grid to cope with more intermittent electricity sources.

  • @Denis Mollison
    I’m not sure that the climate of the early 20thC could be described as stable. The period 1920-1945 shows the same amount and rate of warming as the period 1975-1998. Interestingly, the former cannot be attributed to increased carbon dioxide.
    http://www.realclimate.org/images/hadcrut_diff.jpg

    The cooling that took place in the early Seventies caused Climatologists to warn of an impending ice age. If increasing CO2 prevented that we should be very grateful. Cold kills far more people than warming.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150520193831.htm

  • @Peter – Come now. The period 1920-45 is not “Early 20th century,” by any sensible definition. You’re struggling a bit here.

  • @Ross
    What would you call it?

  • I’m not sure it has a neat description. I mean it’s a big old chunk of years, but the mid-point of it is 1933. That’s literally a third of the way through the century. That’s not ‘early’. Early, to me, would be something like 1900-1910. You can’t call a period early when it includes 1945 for heavens sake.
    I suppose it doesn’t matter all that much, except it does seem to indicate some pretty muddled thinking, that’s all.

  • Laurence Cox 8th Nov '19 - 5:13pm

    @Peter

    The worst kind of fake news is facts taken out of context. So what if the temperature rise from 1920-45 was the same as from 1975-98, as your graph clearly shows it was followed by a cooling between 1945 and 1975, while the temperature has continued to rise since 1998. Your graph stops at 2010 but we have had even more warming since then; the world’s five hottest years are (in descending order) 2016, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2014.

    https://www.climatecentral.org/gallery/graphics/the-10-hottest-global-years-on-record

    Also a paper on more people killed by cold than heat in the past does not predict that the same will apply in the future. Just because climatologists were wrong in the past does not mean they are wrong now (though we probably benefit from CO2 levels around 350 ppm rather than 280 ppm, over 400 ppm and moving rapidly towards 1000 ppm is not good).

  • @Laurence
    You have just provided a good example of fake news, though I have no doubt it was entirely unintentional. The graph shows temperature anomalies relative to a thirty year reference baseline. This is perfectly normal. What is exceptional here is that if their baseline had been any earlier it would have been during or immediately following the Little Ice Age. It is therefore of no surprise that we see a strong warming trend.

    The same article makes fake claims about wildfires, sea levels, cyclones and hurricanes. Wildfires have decreased significantly. Cyclones and hurricanes are not getting more frequent or more severe. Sea level is rising steadily at a modest 3mm per year as you would expect when glaciers are melting, which is what normally happens during an Interglacial period.
    https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/90493/researchers-detect-a-global-drop-in-fires
    https://www.climate.gov/sites/default/files/Global_Sea_Level_Rise.png
    https://i0.wp.com/policlimate.com/tropical/frequency_12months.png

  • Laurence Cox 9th Nov '19 - 1:46pm

    @Peter

    Once again, you are using facts to mislead. From your first reference

    The changes in savanna, grassland, and tropical forest fire patterns are so large that they have so far offset some of the increased risk of fire caused by global warming, said Doug Morton, a forest scientist at NASA Goddard and a co-author of the study. The impact of a warming and drying climate is more obvious at higher latitudes, where fire has increased in Canada and the American West. Regions of China, India, Brazil, and southern Africa also showed increases in burned area.

    The operative word here is some

    The sea-level rise graph only tells us what the sea level rise has been so far, it doesn’t tell us how much sea-level rise is already ‘baked-in’ by CO2 emissions so far. If this is 100 years of sea-level rise, then the total rise would be 30 cm, if 1000 years then the total rise would be 3 metres.

    You say “Cyclones and hurricanes are not getting more frequent or more severe” but the graph you cite only lists numbers of cyclones and hurricanes, not their severity.

    As I said above, the worst kind of fake news is using real facts out of context.

  • @Laurence
    Here are US and Australian hurricanes data with categories.
    https://i2.wp.com/www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/Landsea/gw_hurricanes/fig33.jpg
    https://i1.wp.com/www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/images/tornado/clim/EF3-EF5.png
    https://i1.wp.com/www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/images/tc-graph-1969-2012.png

    The simple truth is that extreme weather is not getting more extreme or more frequent. You should be pleased about that.

  • Laurence, if you do not believe the official data from governments than there is not much more that I can do. My motivation is that I despise the lies being fed to the public. I am not surprised that you find the truth incredible, the lies are relentless, widespread and overwhelming.

    If you are interested in climate change then I suggest that you stick to official data from government sites. They are biased because they have funding and historical claims to justify but they do normally stop short of making fraudulent claims.

    I feel very strongly that politicians and policy makers should have the best information available and not be swayed by lies from advocates with their own agendas. Climate change is rife with noble cause corruption which creates exactly the type of problem we are seeing here.

  • Jenny barnes 10th Nov '19 - 7:26am

    Never argue with a troll. You just get stuck under a bridge and the troll enjoys it.

  • Laurence Cox 10th Nov '19 - 12:28pm

    @Peter

    Why don’t you go back to the Daily Mail website where your selective quoting of facts will no doubt receive support. Rather than address the fact that the sites you qoted do not support your arguments, you just throw up more links to sites. It is classic obfuscation technique used by those who just want to stop any action being taken.

  • David Allen 10th Nov '19 - 7:02pm

    Lawrence Cox,

    Thanks for your post, which costed a major programme of renewable power plant building at £73 billion. That compares with the Greens’ budget of £100 billion per year and Labour’s budget of £25 billion per year. On that basis, it sounds like a broadly reasonable ambition, provided it is planned for a timescale of, say, 5-10 years.

  • Martin and Laurence, it is a fact that hurricanes and other tropical storms such as cyclones and tornadoes have been less frequent in the last couple of decades. The Australian and US website links and the data they show are genuine. Check it out for yourself. Surprising, isn’t it? But true.

    I am not denying anything about IR absorbing gases. Gases with a dipole moment are active in the infra red and that is not in doubt. However, as I pointed out earlier, it does annoy me to see widespread claims that hurricanes, etc are getting more extreme when that is simply not the case.

    Those who feel strongly about climate change would have more credibility if they didn’t lie about it.

  • Peter Martin 11th Nov '19 - 8:45am

    @ Peter,

    “it does annoy me to see widespread claims that hurricanes, etc are getting more extreme when that is simply not the case. Those who feel strongly about climate change would have more credibility if they didn’t lie about it.”

    If you are going to make accusations of lying then you need to back up your claim with evidence. You are grouping together both the frequency and intensity of hurricanes. It is possible that we could have the same frequency but hurricanes have become more intense. Or we could have a greater number of hurricanes of the same intensity. So it is is necessary to separate the two but at the same time avoid the temptation to only highlight the one that suits your political motivations.

    In fact as scientists we shouldn’t have political motivations. Political motivations make the subject of Economics totally unreliable. We don’t want climate science to go the same way, although I suspect it may well be too late to say that.

    I have seen previous papers which have indicated that the frequency may not have increased but intensities have. But this paper, which is more recent, suggests that both are increasing. With an increase in duration too.

    But the real evidence of global warming is to be found in measured temperatures. I’ll post up some NASA references on that if you like.

    https://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/our-changing-climate/changes-hurricanes

  • Peter Martin 11th Nov '19 - 8:56am

    @ Martin,

    “……there is a fairly strong correlation between climate change denial and support for Brexit ”

    You’re likely right. Nevertheless, as rational human beings, we shouldn’t rule out the possibility that climate change is happening pretty much as climate scientists say it is, but at the same time that the EU is falling apart under the strains caused by the faulty neoliberal/ordoliberal economic ‘understanding’ of the EU PTB.

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