Protecting Our Environment

Safeguarding our environment and tackling climate change are among the greatest challenges facing Britain and the world as a whole. It’s not enough to simply mitigate the threat of climate change. We must adapt to its damaging effects, which are already impacting on us today.

However, the current Government has set back the protection of Britain’s natural environment and wildlife. In spite of David Cameron’s promise to lead ‘the greenest Government ever’, he has attempted to sell off the nation’s forests, threatened to repeal the hunting ban, and questioned the value of laws which give us better air quality, cleaner beaches and wildlife protection.

Communities affected by flooding have borne the human cost of the Government’s failure to take environmental protection seriously, with flood defences cut and downgraded as a priority – leaving thousands of homes at risk.

For Labour, climate change and the environment aren't just about photo opportunities and soundbites. They really matter, for families today and for the next generation. Safeguarding our environment for the long term, reducing carbon emissions and adapting to climate change are among the greatest challenges facing Britain and the whole world. 

The last Labour Government led the world with the Climate Change Act and a range of domestic environmental protection measures. The next Labour Government will build on that proud record– putting sustainability back at the top of the agenda, protecting our natural environment and wildlife for future generations, and re-establishing Britain as a global leader on climate change.

We will safeguard our natural environment for the long term

  • We will remain committed to ambitious, legally-binding targets for carbon reduction at home, and will push for global targets abroad that rise every five years, moving us towards zero net global emissions.
  • We will produce an ambitious adaptation programme, and the new Infrastructure Commission will prioritise investment in flood prevention.
  • We will build on our strong record on animal welfare, starting with an end to this Government’s ineffective and cruel badger cull. We will improve the protection of dogs and cats, ban wild animals in circuses, defend the hunting ban and deal with wildlife crime associated with shooting.
  • We will deal with the problems of air pollution by giving local authorities the powers they need,backed up by a national framework.
  • We will keep our forests in public ownership and promote access to green spaces in local planning.
  • We will support the work of the Natural Capital Committee to protect and improve wildlife habitats and green spaces, and we will make them an important part of our thriving tourism industry.
  • We want to create a world-leading food, farm and fisheries sector that creates better-paid jobs and apprenticeships across the rural economy.
  • We will promote the best of British produce and expand the role of the supermarket watchdog to support the growth of the sector and protect food producers from unfair practices by the major supermarkets.

We will put climate change at the centre of our foreign policy

  • We will push for an ambitious agreement on climate change at the UNFCCC conference in Paris in December.
  • We will make the case for ambitious emissions targets for all countries, strengthened every five years on the basis of a scientific assessment of the progress towards the 2C goal. And we will push for a goal of net zero global emissions in the second half of this century, for transparent and universal rules for measuring, verifying and reporting emissions, and for an equitable deal in which richer countries provide support to poorer nations in combating climate change.

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