A thought-provoking blog on the pre-election promises by the Conservative Party sheds light on what we can expect from the government in terms of environmental policy over the next five years. It will be interesting to see which policies go ahead. Several of the pledges are very worrying including; changes in renewable energy funding, forging ahead with fracking and a lack of funding for flood defences. Continuation of the badger cull goes against scientific evidence and is very foolish. The only good I see is the promise to spend money on protecting hedgerows and rivers, which I doubt will go far enough to improve farmland habitats for wildlife.
The Conservative manifesto is brief on both energy and environment, but contains some specifics. Subsidies will be scrapped for new onshore wind farms, the cheapest form of low-carbon energy. That contradicts the Tory’s pledge on the same page to support renewables that “represent value for money”, but will please some in the shires. The Conservatives want to deliver EDF’s huge and expensive new nuclear plant in Somerset and have talked up a possible tidal barrage in Swansea Bay. But fossil fuels will get wholehearted backing from the Conservatives, with fracking for shale gas a priority and further help for the struggling North Sea oil and gas fields, which saw record investment in the last government.