Big Ben Westminster

Our manifesto for the 2019 General Election

As the UK heads for a snap election on 12 December 2019, Friends of the Earth shares the ten policies that should feature in all of the political party manifestos.
  Published:  30 Oct 2019    |      2 minute read

Climate change, nature, and human wellbeing are inextricably linked. If these are not addressed adequately, then the cost to current and future generations in terms of lives lost, livelihoods damaged, and economic harm will be severe.

Yet the worst can still be avoided. The solutions are readily available, many of which will also bring significant benefits such as green jobs, clean air, warm homes and thriving nature for all. This will require investment on the same scale as education and defence, with £42 billion needed per year over the next spending review.

But taking the right actions and investing just 5% of government spending (or 2% of GDP) will show international leadership and be an appropriate response to the protests and concerns of people across the UK and the rest of the world.

Friends of the Earth will assess the political party General Election manifestos based on how and if they include our 10 manifesto demands. Find out how on our policy site.

Summary of manifesto demands

1. Climate change

Commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as fast as possible, including bringing international aviation and shipping emissions into the UK’s carbon budgets, ruling out the use of international offsetting, meeting our fair share of funding international climate finance and stop funding fossil fuels abroad.

2. Surface transport

Spend an additional £11.5 billion per year in public transport (including free buses for the under 30s) and cycling and walking by reviewing the road building programme and HS2. Speed-up the transition to electric vehicles and ensure clean air everywhere.

3. Aviation

Reduce emissions from aviation, including through the introduction of a frequent flier levy, and cancel airport expansion.

4. Energy

Speed-up and scale-up the development of renewable energy. Ban fracking. Increase the cost of fossil-fuel use and commit to phasing out the use of natural gas.

5. Homes

Invest at least an additional £3.3 billion per year over the next few years into a local authority led insulation and eco-heating programme. Improve the energy efficiency standards of the private rented sector, and improve the standards of new build homes.

6. Food, farming and land use

Commit to doubling UK tree cover to capture carbon and let nature thrive. Reduce the use of pesticides, commit to deliver a strategy that leads to diets with less but better meat, and set a binding target to halve food waste.

7. Nature

Invest an additional £5.6 billion a year into nature protection and restoration (including important carbon sinks such as peatbogs), introduce targets and powerful new legislation to protect the environment, and introduce a new law to end the scourge of plastic pollution.

8. Local authorities

Require and fully empower local authorities to deliver on the climate emergency, including through providing sites for renewable energy developments, enabling local authorities to raise significant sums for low carbon investment, and rewriting planning rules.

9. Brexit

Oppose a No Deal Brexit under all circumstances, and support a close and cooperative future relationship with the EU. Guarantee in law that high environmental standards and protections will be maintained (without regression) and enhanced over time. Include in legislation a focus on "public money for public goods" in farming, and ensure any future trade deals promote global sustainability and maintain standards.

10. Rights and democracy

Improve democracy by enabling 16- and 17-year olds to vote in future elections, introducing proportional representation, introducing a Future Generations Act for England, overhauling electoral law, and protect the right to protest.

Friends of the Earth will assess the political party General Election manifestos based on how and if they include our 10 manifesto demands. Read our manifesto in full on our policy website.

Friends of the Earth is independent of all political parties and we do not endorse or favour any particular party. We are calling on all political parties to adopt these policies in their manifestos and will hold them to account for any promises made following the election.