Greater Manchester election survey exposes Tory greenwash

26th April 2010
news
release

Figures released by Manchester Friends of the Earth today dealt a major blow to the green credentials of the Conservative party.

A survey of election candidates across Greater Manchester showed Conservative candidates lagging well behind the other parties on ten key environmental issues.  With each response rated between -20 (very poor) and +20 (very good), Conservative candidates scored an average of -1, compared to +10 for Labour, +13 for the Liberal Democrats and +20 for the Green Party. [1]

And the commitment of prospective Conservative MPs to tackling climate change was further called into question after it was revealed that only two Tory candidates in the whole of the UK have backed a package of key measures to slash UK emissions. [2]

The green measures, put forward by Friends of the Earth, have been supported by scores of Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates, including seven from Greater Manchester. [3]

During the election campaign, thousands of Friends of the Earth supporters across the UK have contacted their candidates asking them to support the environmental charity’s four climate pledges. [4]

These pledges have so far been backed by 285 Green Party candidates (out of around 300), 156 Liberal Democrats, 85 Labour and just two Conservatives.

Manchester Friends of the Earth campaigner Ali Abbas said:

“The next Government must act quickly and decisively if we want a safe climate, a healthy planet, and a fair future for our children.  The Conservatives are calling on people to ‘Vote for Change’, but our survey shows that on environmental issues, that could well turn out to be a change for the worse.”

Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said:

“It is extremely disappointing that only two prospective Conservative MPs have backed our action plan for tackling climate change.

“David Cameron must do more to convince his party of the urgent need to cut climate emissions – and the fact that a green economy will be good for jobs, good for energy security and good for the planet.

“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges the planet faces – we need urgent climate action, not more hot air.”

ENDS

Contacts for Comment

Ali Abbas, Manchester FOE, 07786 090520
Dave Coleman, Manchester FOE, 07801 495781

Notes to Editors

[1] The full survey questions and election candidate responses are available at:
https://www.manchesterfoe.org.uk/election2010

[2] Ballooning Around: http://election.foe.co.uk

[3] Greater Manchester pledgers from the three main parties include:

Labour: Gerald Kaufman (Manchester Gorton), Simon Danczuk (Rochdale)

Liberal Democrat: Stuart Bodsworth (Stockport), Richard Baum (Bury North), Steve Broadhurst (Denton & Reddish), John Leech (Manchester Withington), Mark Alcock (Oldham West & Royton)

Conservative: None

[4] The Friends of the Earth pledges are:

Every council must take action on climate change
A local carbon budget for every local authority: that caps CO2 in the local area in line with the scientific demands for emissions cuts and local circumstances; and enough money and technical support to enable councils to do their bit to tackle climate change.

Tackling climate change, creating jobs
Sufficient investment in switching to a low carbon economy to: achieve a reduction in UK greenhouse gas emission of 42 per cent by 2020; create jobs and boost the recovery; and eliminate fuel poverty.

Strong and fair international action to tackle climate change
An international agreement on cutting emissions where those responsible make the deepest cuts first, and developing countries are supported to grow in a low carbon way

Fix the food chain and support planet-friendly farming
A new law which will tackle the major greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation caused by the UK’s dependence on imported feeds for livestock – and which will support better UK farming and domestic feed production

[5] Manchester Friends of the Earth is an award-winning environmental campaign group, part of a network of over 220 local Friends of the Earth groups.  We raise awareness about environmental issues and lobby for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level.  The group consists entirely of volunteers, and our campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on our website: www.manchesterfoe.org.uk.

[6] Friends of the Earth believes the environment is for everyone. We want a healthy planet and a good quality of life for all those who live on it. We inspire people to act together for a thriving environment. We campaign on a range of issues including climate change, biodiversity, waste, transport and food. For further information visit www.foe.co.uk.