It’s open manifesto season at the moment as the political parties scramble to reveal their promises to the public ahead of the general election on 12 December.
CIEH published its own manifesto ahead of the main parties, which contained a wish list of promises it wants from politicians to safeguard the public and improve environmental and safety standards. So which parties have taken note?
We’ve trawled through the manifestos of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens, Brexit Party (who produced a ‘contract’, not a manifesto), Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party (SNP) to bring you this handy guide. (Note that housing isn't mentioned below. It's such a big issue that we’ve dealt with this in a separate article.)
CIEH recommendation: Commit to maintaining and improving our high food standards post-Brexit and in any future trade deals.
The Greens, the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru have promised to do this. Labour has promised that its Brexit deal would provide “dynamic alignment” with Europe on environmental protections and, once a deal has been hammered out, offers a final say on leaving the EU. The Lib Dems have promised to stop Brexit altogether, and Plaid Cymru would fight for a ‘Final Say Referendum’, making the case for Wales to become a member of the EU in its own right. The SNP has promised something very similar for Scotland. The Brexit Party doesn’t talk about food except in the context of import tariffs.
CIEH recommendation: Appoint a new Minister for Food to oversee the consultation and delivery of the new National Food Strategy.
No one has pledged to have a food minister, although the Lib Dems did promise to deliver a National Food Strategy. The Conservatives mention the National Food Strategy once, in the context of improving hospital food. The Greens, the Brexit Party, Plaid Cymru and the SNP don’t mention it.
Labour pledges to "end food bank Britain", halving food bank usage within a year and removing the need for them altogether in three years. They also intend to establish a National Food Commission and review the Allotments Act.
CIEH recommendation: Halve food loss and waste by 2030 as per targets in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
As far as the UN Sustainable Development Goals are concerned, the Conservatives and Labour don’t mention them and the Greens and SNP talk about them in terms of their plans relating to global justice. The Lib Dems say “our plan for the future is built on championing liberal and international values, ending poverty and promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals both in the UK and abroad”.
In terms of pledges around food waste, the Conservatives, Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Brexit Party don’t mention it, the Lib Dems say they’ll “cut down”, and the Greens propose turning food waste into animal food as one way of reducing it. Labour aims to achieve net-zero-carbon food production in Britain by 2040 and promises to work with councils to reduce food waste.
4 CIEH recommendations relating to the environment:
• As the UK leaves EU, establish new environmental regulators for all the UK nations.
• A UK-wide approach to reducing air pollution from road transport.
• Introduce new UK-wide legislation and policies to reduce carbon emissions across all aspects of our daily lives.
• Commit to introducing air quality targets, which are legally binding and commit to reaching World Health Organisation guidelines.
The Lib Dems offer a guarantee that the new Office of Environmental Protection would be fully independent and able to force compliance with targets. It also pledges to invest in public transport and accelerate the transition to ultra-low-emission transport through taxation, subsidy and regulation. The Greens have developed a Green New Deal, a ten-year plan to tackle climate and ecological breakdown. They’ll also create an Environmental Protection Commission with enforcement powers.
The Conservatives will bring back the Environment Bill and Labour will introduce a Climate and Environment Emergency Bill. The Lib Dems, Greens and Labour commit to a new Clean Air Act.
Plaid Cymru want to introduce a Ministry for the Future to help the country transition to a low-carbon, nature-friendly economy. It also wants to implement a Clean Air Act for Wales.
The SNP has promised to introduce a Climate Change Act, pledging to end Scotland’s contribution to global climate change by 2045 at the latest, with Scotland becoming carbon neutral by 2040. The Brexit Party says it will plant “millions of trees to capture CO2” and “promote a global initiative at the UN”.
CIEH recommendation: Protecting the standards, safety and health of workers across the UK, post Brexit, and ensuring that adequate resources are available to local authorities to protect employees working for small businesses.
Labour says it will set up a Royal Commission to bring health (including mental health) and safety legislation up to date. It also pledges to protect public-facing workers from abuse.
CIEH also outlined recommendations on:
• Making the display of food hygiene ratings by food businesses mandatory in England.
• Establishing an England-wide licensing scheme for cosmetic treatments.
The parties have said nothing specifically on these issues.