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June 2024 Election Special

In this special edition:

  • Our manifesto tracker tool

  • RSPB comment on a lack of recognition for nature

  • Manifesto summary responses from our team


UKNEE General Election Manifesto Responses and Tracker Tool


With just over a week to go until polling day, we've taken a look at the manifestos from the five main national parties and collated what they say on specific topics regarding climate and nature. 

Click here to access the tracker

Policies are broken down into simple, clickable tables to allow for easy comparison and to help you quickly find issue areas of interest.

The tracker analyses the manifestos of the Conservatives, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, and Reform UK. The tables are separated into six broad areas, with further details as you click:

  • Net Zero & Climate Policy

  • Fossil Fuels

  • Renewables, Nuclear, and Energy Policy

  • Land, Seas, Food & Nature

  • Housing

  • Transport

We'd love to hear your thoughts on the tracker and the state of climate and nature in politics today. Feel free to reach out


RSPB Comment on a Lack of Recognition for Nature


The Nature Positive Economy Team at RSPB reached out to us to share their reaction to the level of ambition and clarity on actions for nature, saying:

"The common thread across the party manifestos was a lack of recognition that reversing the nature crisis is essential for our economic prosperity.

With recent research from the Green Finance Institute showing that continued biodiversity decline could lead to a UK economic shock on the scale of the global financial crisis or Covid-19 in the coming years, we needed all parties to set out an urgent plan for action. This should include how we will deliver the scale of investment in natural capital that will reverse the nature crisis.

Crucially we needed to hear how the new government will deliver its share of investment in a challenging fiscal situation and how it will set the framework for the private sector to deliver new investment at scale. Whoever wins the election on July the 4th, RSPB will be pushing the next government to answer these critical questions.

 Nature Positive Economy team, RSPB


Summary Responses from the Team


Our team dove into the manifestos to help produce this tracker. Below are their general comments and summaries following this process.

Note that these reflections are not representative of UKNEE as a whole, but give insight to each individual's reaction after reading the manifesto.



By Paul: 

"As the incumbent, the Conservatives emphasise what they have delivered and affirm their continued support for such initiatives or policies. As the underdog, they frequently make direct reference to and criticise what Labour have announced.

Three of the sixteen areas of the manifesto relate to climate and nature:

  • Net Zero: Energy security is a central discussion point within the net zero topic. They notably make a direct link between the economy and climate, arguing that a “positive economic path” and tackling climate change are not mutually exclusive by pointing out that the UK economy has grown by 80% while getting halfway to net zero. However, their row-back on net zero ambition continues (following announcements in September 2023) with a promise of annual licensing rounds for new oil and gas extraction, reversing London's ULEZ, and to never require households to switch to heat pumps. Green energy is discussed, with mention of CCS clusters and a £1.1bn investment into the Green Industries Growth Accelerator, and plans to scale up nuclear power, wind, and solar (but not to the same level as Labour).

  • Farmers and Fishers: Farmers and fishers will hopefully benefit from some form of increased funding (in ELM scheme and a very modest new UK-wide £20m “innovation fund”), though the details of these plans are vague. However, other commitments are even more vague with no concrete targets.

  • Nature: The discussion on nature is especially flimsy. There is an outsize emphasis on past policies championed by Conservative governments over the last 14 years, with the only new proposals of consequence relating to the water sector."



By Ece: 

"Overall, I would argue that labour is communicating that improvements to nature will be come as a result of net zero ambitions. Labour doesn’t introduce new environmental policy. Rather, there are already are set targets in place and they argue the issue now is to meet them.

Labour’s 5 missions do not include environment. The closest related topic is targeting clean energy as a means to achieve net-zero. Otherwise, the key missions of Labour are 1) economic growth, 2) clean energy, 3) policing, 4) education, and 5) NHS reform. There is a strong social improvement element that runs through the missions, often tied to economic growth. This was also a similar element in Green Party’s manifesto.

Some key highlights are:

  • Green Prosperity Plan as the main vehicle that the government will use to invest in green economic development.

  • On energy: the goal is to create the national energy company, Great British Energy, and “double onshore wind, triple solar power, and quadruple offshore wind by 2030”

  • Green finance: “Labour will make the UK the green finance capital of the world, mandating UK-regulated financial institutions … and FTSE 100 companies to develop and implement credible transition plans that align with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement”

  • Nature: In addition to following existing targets, “Labour will create nine new National River Walks, one in each region of England, and establish three new National Forests in England.”

  • Water: They’ll be more fervent with fines and give more power to regulators, but otherwise no specific changes.

  • Farming and animal welfare: no change from current policies. It is also of note that there is no mention of fisheries or marine environments at all."

Liberal Democrats


By Paul & Patrick: 

"In the Liberal Democrat manifesto, three of the topics are directly or very closely linked to the environment and nature: Climate Change and Energy (Section 5 of the Manifesto), Natural environment (Section 12), and Food and Farming (Section 13). The Lib Dems highlight the Conservatives’ “failed” record on the environment and argue they offer a better plan.

Key figures from across these three topics:

  • Net zero by 2045 at the latest;

  • 90% of UK electricity is generated from renewables by 2030;

  • Transform water companies into public benefit companies;

  • “Double nature” by 2050 (i.e., double the size of the Protected Area Network, double the area of the most important wildlife habitats, double the abundance of species, and double woodland cover);

  • Strengthen the OEP and increase funding to the EA and Natural England; and

  • Accelerate rollout of new ELM schemes and provide an additional £1b in funding annually.

The manifesto generally represents a strong understanding of the relationship between climate change, nature, and the economy (particularly in comparison with the Conservatives, Labour, and Reform). It often pushes for further action or provides greater policy detail than other parties, including the Green Party on occasion. They also have good coverage of most issues, with the fewest occurrences of 'no mention' in our manifesto tracker. 

Where the Liberal Democrat manifesto is let down is in their climate policy, specifically their policy on fossil fuels: they are the only party still on the fence, giving no indication of whether they would rule-out new oil and gas exploration." 

Green Party


By Victoria: 

"The Green Party manifesto can almost be read as a manifestation board of all things the party would like to do, with less consideration for the dilution of political process that other more established parties would likely consider. There is no shortage of ambition in this manifesto: eleven out of sixteen chapter headings include the word 'green' or refer to nature in some way.

The Green Party clearly make the strongest links between the economy and the environment out of the five parties reviewed. Focussing on "creating a fairer, greener economy", they write: “investing in protecting our climate now will save vast costs in the future, and spending on decent public services and fit-for-purpose infrastructure is essential for a flourishing future for us all.” 

Their proposed approach is generally to tax and spend, with vast amounts pledged in each issue area. They also propose a series of bans on harmful activities, such as bottom trawling and hunting.

On nature and animals, they focus on the rights of nature and animals themselves. Goals include banning harmful animal farming practices, ending the spill of sewage into water, and increasing people’s access to nature.

While the manifesto is not short ambition, it is at times surprisingly vague or relies on spending figures or a pledge to 'end' certain practices rather than outlining policy mechanisms that may help achieve targets. This often becomes apparent when comparing their policies with the Liberal Democrats in our tracker."

Reform UK


By Patrick: 

"In practice, the Reform UK Contract pays no serious attention to the issues of climate change and biodiversity loss. Policies focus predominantly on an anti-immigration agenda and the use of fossil fuels.

Reform UK seek to scrap net zero targets entirely, fast-track new oil and gas licenses, begin fracking on a 2 year trial, explore coal mining, and scrap climate-related farming and land management incentives in a bid to reach higher levels of food security by boosting agricultural production. They also seek to ban low-emission zones and 20mph speed limits. Regarding renewables, they only mention solar power and only in the context of restricting its use on productive land, opting instead for a fast-tracking of nuclear projects to provide an alternative energy source.

Their core argument against net zero and nature restoration policies is their cost. Reform state that once net zero is scrapped, we can help the environment by planting more trees. 

On many of the issues in our tracker, which are key to a transition to a more sustainable economy, Reform UK have no policy."

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