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UK Parties on Sustainability
Tunley Environmental2 Jul 20245 min read

UK Election July 2024: Striding for Sustainability?

UK Parties on Sustainability | Tunley Environmental

As the general election in the UK fast approaches, sustainability and how it intersects with politics are critical points within each party's manifesto. Climate change casts a long black shadow over the lives of future generations in the UK and the world. Herein, we present a quick comparison between the sustainability-oriented policies of each major political party (presented in the following order: incumbent, opposition, and longest operating). 

Conservative Party 

2050 Net Zero Goal 

The Conservative Party, currently led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, has reiterated their commitment to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The party proports taking a balanced approach to sustainability. Claiming that the conservatives are more focused on economic growth and tackling climate change as a secondary target. They propose cutting the cost of net zero for consumers by avoiding green levies and accelerating the rollout of renewables. Additionally, the conservatives propose a new energy efficiency voucher scheme for households in England, which includes grants for insulation and solar panels, although details such as budget and launch dates remain unspecified. 

Renewable Energy Plans 

The Conservative party has committed to significantly expanding offshore wind energy, aiming to increase its capacity to 40GW by 2030. They support the development of small modular nuclear reactors and new gas power capacity, alongside carbon capture and storage clusters, to complement their renewable strategy. 


To support biodiversity, the conservatives have pledged to protect 30% of UK land by 2030. This includes rewilding projects and creating new National Parks. They also plan to introduce more stringent regulations to protect marine environments and enhance the management of existing protected areas. 

Labour Party 

2030 Clean Power Goal 

Under the leadership of Keir Starmer, Labour's ambitious plan aims to make the UK a clean energy superpower by 2030. Labour proposes accomplishing this by focusing on significantly expanding renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. They intend to achieve this by doubling onshore wind, tripling solar power and quadrupling offshore wind capacity by the end of the decade. Labour also plans to invest in carbon capture, hydrogen technologies and nuclear power to ensure energy security and independence. However, it should be noted that the labour manifesto does not discuss a net zero target. Previously, under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, a net zero target of 2030 given in the Labour manifesto for the 2019 election. 

Green New Deal 

Labour proposes a Green New Deal, aiming to invest in large-scale wind and solar projects. Labour plans to establish Great British Energy, a new publicly owned company, to accelerate the UK's transition to clean power. This initiative is expected to create jobs and support local energy projects, focusing on solar, wind and hydropower. 


Labour’s policy on biodiversity includes a strategy for protecting wildlife and habitats. They aim to establish a new Environmental Tribunal to ensure compliance with environmental laws and propose new legislation to safeguard natural spaces and marine environments. 


Liberal Democrats 

2045 Net Zero Target 

The Liberal Democrats, led by Ed Davey, have also set out strong environmental policies. The party has committed to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, with interim targets to drastically increase the UK's renewable energy output. Their plans include a comprehensive ten-year emergency upgrade program to boost energy efficiency across homes, particularly for those on low incomes and significant investments in renewable technologies such as marine power. 

New Renewables Target 

The Lib Dems are advocating for a rapid expansion of renewable energy sources, particularly offshore wind, solar power and tidal energy. Their plan includes investing in renewable power to achieve 90% of the UK's electricity from renewables by 2030, with a strong focus on community involvement and local grid reforms. 

Nature Recovery Network to Boost Conservation 

The party is proposing creating a Nature Recovery Network to restore habitats and connect protected sites. They also aim to support farmers in transitioning to sustainable practices and enhancing biodiversity on agricultural land. 

Green Party 

2030 Net Zero Goal 

The Green Party, with co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay, places sustainability and environmental issues at the forefront of their agenda. They have the most ambitious target, aiming for net zero by 2030. Their approach includes a comprehensive overhaul of the UK’s energy, transport and agricultural systems to drastically cut emissions. They advocate for the implementation of a Green New Deal, which would create millions of green jobs and ensure a transition for workers currently employed in high-carbon industries. 

Renewable Energy 

The Greens propose a significant investment in renewable energy, with a rapid transition to 100% renewable sources by 2030. Their proposal focuses on decentralising the energy system and supporting local renewable energy projects. They also advocate for an end to fossil fuel subsidies and a ban on fracking. The Greens have also stated their belief the development of nuclear power plants is too slow and thus nuclear energy should be phased out. 


The Green Party’s platform includes extensive measures to protect and restore nature. This includes rewilding initiatives, expanding protected areas and implementing a national strategy to enhance biodiversity. They propose a National Nature Service to engage people in conservation work and boost employment in the environmental sector. 

Reform UK 

Net Zero Goal 

Reform UK takes a more cautious stance on the current net zero targets, arguing for a reassessment of the 2050 goal. They emphasise the need for a balanced approach that considers economic impacts and energy security. Reform UK have the following listed as one of their savings pledges “Energy Savings – Tax Subsidies & Scrap Net Zero”, this is suggested to provide a saving of £30 Bn over 25 years. 

The Bottom Line 

The public's expectation for comprehensive and effective environmental policies is clear, with a significant majority of voters expressing that green issues are top priorities. Each party has presented distinct approaches towards achieving net-zero targets, expanding renewable energy, and improving conservation efforts. Understanding these positions can help inform voters’ decisions and shape the future of the UK's environmental landscape. 

If you would like to learn more about these sustainability issues and how they can impact your organisation, reach out to us here. Our PhD-qualified Sustainability Consultants can provide expert solutions that are tailor-made to help you achieve your sustainability goals. 


Find out more by speaking to one of our Sustainability Consultants.