David Cameron sets out stall for election with plans for training, a minimum carbon price and new nuclear fleet
The Conservative party today committed to create 20,000 new apprenticeship places and introduce a floor price for carbon in order to support the development of a low-carbon infrastructure if elected to government.
The Conservative manifesto, launched today, contained little new policy in the area of the built environment, re-stating plans to oppose the construction of further airport runways, and reform the planning system.
The manifesto also said the party would build a new fleet of nuclear power stations without government subsidy, and four carbon capture and storage coal power stations, equalling Labour's plans. Its plans for a high speed rail network also included proposals to extend the network to Wales, beyond what Labour have proposed.
The manifesto said: “We will reform the climate change levy to provide a floor price for carbon, delivering the right climate for investment in low-carbon energy production.”
A minimum price for carbon is something that the nuclear industry has been campaigning for in order to give it the financial certainty to commence building new power stations. The manifesto added: “A credible and sustainable price for carbon is vital if we are to see adequate and timely investment in new electricity generation. Whatever the carbon content of electricity generated, operators considering new investments in projects with a life of several decades need to know where they stand.”
The document also said a Tory government would create 20,000 extra apprenticeships. As expected it said it would set up a Green Investment Bank, but did not specify how it would work or how much funding it would receive. However, there was no word on funding for building new hospitals and schools.
Proposals on planning, including the abolition of the Infrastructure Planning Commission and the introduction of incentives to local authorities to encourage housebuilding, repeated earlier pledges in the Tories planning green paper.
Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: "The commitment to a Green Infrastructure Bank sends an important signal, though it should focus on funding energy efficiency and low-carbon infrastructure as much as new technology start-ups.
“It is disappointing that the Conservatives have not emphasised their ongoing commitment to zero-carbon new homes, the pursuit of which has galvanised the industry and begun to revolutionise the sustainability of our new house building over recent times."
Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “Much of what's in here has already been scrutinised in the various green papers the Tories have published and typically the big questions for the industry will centre around how we pay for infrastructure and reduce the costs of planning.”