When I vote next Thursday, I won’t vote on solely environmental grounds, but it will be a significant factor in my choice. I hope it will be a factor in your choice too.
There is a massive difference in the approach to the environment from the Left and Right of politics which is very clear in the manifestos – no-one can possible say that the parties are all the same.
What will environmental protection look like in the post-Brexit world? Labour, LibDems and the Greens promise to keep the current level of environmental protection and build on it whereas the Conservatives and UKIP say they will throw away the bad bits and keep the good bits without telling us which is which. That seems to be the same level of clarity on Brexit that those most keen on it have had since the EU referendum campaign started and it simply isn’t good enough. In particular, since we might get a Tory government but we won’t get a UKIP one, it’s completely unacceptable for them to be so vague. What has Defra been doing for the past year if it can’t tell us how the environment will be protected?
And I don’t trust a Conservative government, particularly with the current characters, to protect our environment. If we re-elect the Tories then I believe we will see watering down of site protection (SPAs, SACs, SSSIs etc) to make way for cranky economic developments. Our coast and our countryside, and our seas too, will be opened up for development with little legal protection. Species protection will also be watered down – you wouldn’t want to be a Great-crested Newt, Fox, Badger, Hen Harrier, Buzzard or Nightingale under a Conservative government free from the sanction of the EU courts. This is an absolute red line for me and it means I could not possibly vote Conservative or UKIP even if I loved to bits everything else in their manifestos (I don’t).
So how will I vote? I’m a Labour party member living in a Conservative-held Tory/Labour marginal seat so it’s not very difficult for me, I’ll be voting Labour.
How should you vote? Well, I hesitate to recommend anything because it depends on the candidates etc etc but if you care about the environment please consider voting for whoever might beat the Conservative candidate.
Quick guide to the party manifestos’ environmental content (click on the party names for more information):
SNP: little environmental content as SNP Westminster MPs do not engage, no rating
Plaid Cymru: little environmental content as SNP Westminster MPs do not engage, no rating
DUP: little environmental content, DUP MPs tend to vote with the Conservatives, no rating
Other political parties are available.