Ranked: UK political parties’ green pledges

Written by Lori Campbell on 31st May 2024

The main UK political parties have been ranked on their environmental pledges ahead of the general election.

Friends of the Earth, which produced the analysis, said all parties must provide voters with more “concrete plans” on how they will meet climate pledges, protect nature and cut pollution if they win the election.

The campaign group has ranked the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Greens’ plans on 10 key environmental issues, including the climate crisis, energy, and protecting Britain’s nature.

Each party was then given an overall score out of 100. The Greens came out on top with 82, followed by the Liberal Democrats with 62, Labour scored 51 and the Conservatives took last place with 27.

The scoring – which will be updated when manifestos are published ahead of the election on July 4 – is based on any policy announcements made by the parties so far, as well as the Tories’ record in government.

Mike Childs, head of policy at Friends of the Earth, said: “Now the campaign is properly under way, voters want to hear concrete plans on how they will build the greener, fairer, more prosperous future we so urgently need.”

Here’s how they scored:

The Conservatives

The Conservatives scored the lowest in all 10 categories, including cutting carbon emissions and protecting the environment.

The party, which has been the UK’s primary governing party since 2010, scored the only zero in the exercise, for defending democracy. Friends of the Earth said this was because the Government has overseen a “plethora of restrictions on liberties”. They cited the recent Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act and the Public Order Act, which have placed tougher restrictions on protests in response to climate action by groups such as Extinction Rebellion.

Mr Childs said the Tories’ green policies had been “easier to scrutinise” due to their record in Government, but that a run of policy decisions that negatively impact the environment had lost them points. The last year has seen ministers U-turn on a number of green pledges, including upcoming bans on new petrol cars and gas boilers. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also angered environmentalists with his decision to allow new oil and gas drilling in the North Sea.

“Unsurprisingly, with such an abysmal track record, they have scored particularly badly,” Mr Childs said.


Labour’s scoring was more mixed. The party achieved a nine out of 10 on green energy, thanks to its pledge to decarbonise UK power by 2030, which Friends of the Earth said is “seriously aspirational”. However, it scored lower on issues including meeting the UK’s international climate targets and protecting nature.

Friends of the Earth said Labour has got much ground to make if it wants to be seen as a party that’s serious on the climate and nature emergencies, as well as on rights and democracy.

It said Labour had not made clear whether it would uphold the UK’s £11.6 billion climate funding pledge for the world’s poorest nations, and was “short on solid policy” on preserving Britain’s nature.

Mr Childs said Labour would have scored better if it hadn’t scrapped its pledge to invest £28 billion annually on green investments. In February, Sir Keir Starmer confirmed his party would slash its green budget to under £15 billion per year, with only a third of that being new money that is not already committed.

A Labour spokesperson said the party “looks forward to being judged on our manifesto.”

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats performed better than Labour and scored a 10 out of 10 on the category of “Ensuring a healthy environment for all”. Friends of the Earth said the party had a “strong package of policy on the environment”, including on issues such as air quality and sewage discharge.

The party has made the environment a central tenet of its campaign this year in a bid to win over Tory voters outraged by the sewage scandal.

However, Friends of the Earth noted that the Liberal Democrats and Greens are often able to be more ambitious with their pledges – as neither party expects to be in government.

It said: “It’s unlikely either will form the next government, but strong advocates for environmental protection in parliament are needed on the opposition benches, so we do hope both parties will flesh out their policies in detail between now and election day.”


Overall, the Green Party, as you might expect, achieved the highest score, with full marks on categories including retrofitting the UK’s housing and protecting nature.

However, Friends of the Earth says: The Green Party’s policy to eliminate all emissions in 10 years is incredibly ambitious, and to be honest from our current starting point we have some scepticism over its feasibility. But the party’s commitment to making the climate emergency an absolutely central priority for all of government is the sort of drive we need if we’re to meet our domestic and international obligations.”

Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay said the analysis “underlines why it is so important to get more Green MPs elected to Parliament”.

“With Labour so far ahead in every single poll, it’s clear that Labour is set to form the next government. What is in doubt is Labour’s commitment to make the real changes needed,” he said, adding that Green MPs “want to be in Parliament to hold the new Government to account”.


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