What are Labour’s key green pledges?

Written by Lori Campbell on 5th Jul 2024

“Change begins now,” declared Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer after securing an historic landslide victory at the polls.

The incoming prime minister takes the helm at a critical time, with the world at the brink of “catastrophic climate tipping points” and Britain off track on its own climate targets.

His party’s majority win must mark the start of the UK’s transformation to a green and low-carbon economy and society, green campaigners and experts have said.

Edward Davey, the UK head of the World Resources Institute, said Labour has to take the lead, not just in reforming the UK’s energy system and industrial base, but also on the world stage.

“There is a wonderful opportunity – as well as a pressing responsibility – for the new government to show its citizens, as well as the world at large, what it means to be a leader on climate, development and nature once again,” he said.

So what important actions on pressing environmental issues can we expect to see? We’ve rounded up the party’s key sustainability pledges:


Make the UK a ‘clean energy superpower’

One of Labour’s five “missions” is to make Britain “a clean energy superpower to cut bills, create jobs and deliver security with cheaper, zero-carbon electricity by 2030”.

Its flagship sustainability pledge is to establish a publicly-owned clean power company, Great British Energy.

This, the party says, would help it achieve its ambitious goal of fully decarbonising the electricity grid by 2030. The party says the plans would be paid for by increasing the windfall tax on oil and gas companies from 75 to 78 percent, with the levy extended by a year to 2029.

Labour also wants to remove the investment incentive scheme, which currently allows oil and gas firms to avoid paying the windfall tax if they make certain investments in renewable energy.

As part of its net zero commitments, Labour said it won’t approve any new oil projects in the North Sea, will avoid granting new coal licenses and ban fracking for good.

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Speed up the net zero transition

Labour drew sharp criticism earlier this year from economists, industrial leaders and environmental campaigners when it slashed its ‘Green Prosperity Plan’ by almost half from £28 billion a year to under £15 billion – only a third of which would be new money.

But the party has said it will “put climate front and centre” of its plans in government, promising to reverse the ban on onshore wind in the immediate days after parliament returns.

It will look to double the money set aside to insulate homes across the UK and reinstate a requirement for private rented properties to meet high efficiency standards. Labour says it will also reinstate the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicle sales, which the Conservatives put back to 2035 last year.

Other pledges include support for a ‘carbon border adjustment mechanism.’ This is a tool to put a fair price on the carbon emitted during the production of carbon intensive goods and help protect British industries during the transition to net zero.

The party also wants to mandate UK-regulated financial institutions – including banks, asset managers, pension funds, and insurers – and FTSE 100 companies to develop and implement credible transition plans that align with the most ambitious 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.

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Clean up dangerously dirty waters

Labour has said it will ‘end the sewage scandal’ – the large-scale dumping of raw sewage into UK rivers, causing sickness and harming wildlife. Steve Reed, shadow environment secretary before the election, threatened tough action including putting water bosses in prison, banning their bonuses and imposing severe fines for sewage spills.

However, experts say sewage and our crumbling water infrastructure isn’t an easy issue to address, and will take focus, investment – and potentially an entirely new regulatory and ownership system.

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