Martin targets green vote


The President of the Green Liberal Democrats, Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood, addressed conference delegates on Friday at the party’s spring conference in Liverpool.

Martin was nominated as President of the Green Lib Dems for his strong parliamentary campaigning on green issues including climate change, renewable energy and protection of green spaces and wildlife.  He is a member of the Aldersgate Group which brings together leading MPs, businesses and green organisations committed to fighting climate change and is on the advisory board of the Energy & Climate Change Information Unit which actively promotes accurate and accessible facts about climate change in the UK media.   In opposition, he was part of the front bench team that amended the Climate Change Bill in 2008 to increase the target for UK greenhouse gas reduction by 2050 from 60% to the 80% and helped to develop Liberal Democrat policies on climate change and on protecting the natural environment

In his speech, Martin emphasised significant achievements by the LibDems in coalition over the last five years including:

  • A trebling of renewable energy generation with solar energy generation up to 60% just in the last year
  • Locking investment in low-carbon energy into UK energy markets through the new Energy Act
  • The launch of the world’s first Green Investment Bank
  • A million trees planted in the largest government tree-planting initiative since the 1970s
  • The new Local Green Space designation, proposed by Martin himself, to protect green spaces important to local communities, now in the National Planning Policy Framework and being actively used today by Cheltenham’s Lib Dem-led council
  • Greenhouse gas emissions going down, even at a time of economic growth
  • Supporting tough climate change negotiations at global level

 

And he highlighted the Five Green Laws Liberal Democrats want to see introduced after the general election on 7 May:

  • A Zero Carbon Britain Bill to toughen up climate change targets in the light of progress so far and the negotiations towards a world climate change treaty. 
  • A Nature Bill introducing legal targets biodiversity, clean air and clean water and establishing a Natural Capital Committee in law.  Martin wants to see this bill take the new Local Green Space designation from guidance into a legal status comparable to Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • A Zero Waste Britain Bill improving the use of scarce resources with binding targets and a clear action plan to reduce waste and end landfill
  • A Green Transport Bill setting clear targets for phasing out petrol and diesel cars, electrifying rail and creating planning framework for cycling, walking and public transport
  • Heating and Energy Efficiency Bill bringing in tough new energy efficiency standards and boosting renewable heat and district heating programmes

 

Martin commented: “We wanted to be the greenest government ever and although past governments didn’t set that bar very high, I think we achieved that goal, boosting renewable, bringing down carbon emissions and protecting green spaces.  But there’s so much more to do and, frankly, only be putting more Liberal Democrats into parliament do we have a prayer of achieving ambitious goals for the environment.  We have been the greenest party in British politics for decades and were talking about issues like climate change before the Green Party was even founded.  So it would ironic if a few thousand voters in Cheltenham vote Green instead of LibDem and the Tories win seats like mine, giving us a Conservative majority government with lukewarm commitment to the environment at best.  At worst we might get a UKIP/Tory coalition that is actively hostile to the green agenda.  That would be a real disaster”


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