May urged to take a ‘bold’ approach to the environment in Tory manifesto

More on shore windfarm developments are among the proposals
More on shore windfarm developments are among the proposals
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Theresa May is being urged to use the new Tory manifesto to take a “bold” approach to environmental issues, as experts suggest it could bolster the party’s chances in the polls.

The influential Conservative think tank Bright Blue claims a focus on “protecting the environment” in the coming weeks will help Mrs May reach out to more liberal, left-wing supporters.

The call to present voters with a “positive offer on the environment” comes as the Government prepares to publish its long-overdue air quality strategy.

Setting out its proposals for a green Conservative manifesto, the organisation suggests this should include plans to expand of low emission zones and introduce a diesel scrappage scheme.

“The most serious electoral obstacles to Theresa May winning a large majority in June are... from the Liberal Democrats in Southern England, Labour in the North and Midlands, and the SNP in Scotland,” said Bright Blue researcher Sam Hall.

“The Conservative Party must reassure voters that Theresa May has a liberal, outward-looking vision for Britain as it leaves the EU. Our polling shows the environment is an issue that is particularly important to the voters of liberal Britain.”

Other proposals include a continued commitment to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change.

The group also calls for European protections to be upheld and agricultural payments to farmers to be continued.

However, more controversial suggestions include further development of onshore wind and government investment in renewable energy.

“A majority of Conservatives (59 percent) support the further development of onshore wind farms, provided they receive no subsidies,” the think tank says.

“Bright Blue’s policy is to enable new onshore wind farms to be awarded zero-subsidy fixed-price contracts, which are now required to help the financing of all new capital-intensive energy infrastructure.”