The Green Party recently won its first set in Westminster when Caroline Lucas, Green Party MEP for the South East was elected with a majority of just over 1200 votes in the Brighton Pavilion constituency. Ms Lucas highlighted her party’s policy priorities in a recent press release, which included “responding to climate change with a million new ‘green’ jobs in low-carbon industries, fair pensions and care for older people, and stronger regulation of the banks”. The Green Party’s manifesto included the following proposals:

On food and farming: local, organic and GM-free foods are emphasised, alongside reform of the CAP to support small farms and phase out intensive and factory farming. Common Fisheries Policy reform, and proper financing to implement the Marine and Coastal Access Act is also highlighted as a means to protect the oceans.

In conservation policy: landscape-scale conservation is promoted, via reform of the CAP and planning system to encourage habitat restoration. The Greens continue to oppose the unelected Planning Commission and stress the need to place sustainability at the core of the planning system. Further regulation is encouraged, including an extension of the Natura 2000 network and the establishment of a new Environmental Protection Commission to integrate environment and public health research. Traditional Green Party issues also remain in the spotlight, including crackdowns on illegal wildlife trade and whaling, and an extension of animal welfare legislation.

On sustainable development: opposition to airport expansion is combined with proposals for aviation taxation and the prioritisation of rail travel. On energy, nuclear expansion, biofuels cultivation and new coal power stations are opposed, in favour of smart meters, feed-in tariffs and planning policies to support renewables, including renewable heat.

Ms Lucas hosted a member of BES in the European Parliament as part of the Society’s Parliamentary Shadowing Scheme this year, in her capacity as an MEP. As she moves into Westminster politics it will be interesting to monitor the advancement of Green Party policies within parliament.

Source: BES Ecology & Policy Blog

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