The Liberal Democrat manifesto launched today has reiterated its opposition to any new runways in the south east of England, including Heathrow’s third runway.
Instead the Lib Dems propose to focus on improving regional airports such as Manchester and Birmingham.
The manifesto pledges £100bn additional infrastructure investment. Rail electrification would continue under the Lib Dems, and the party has pledged to proceed with High Speed 2, High Speed 3 and Crossrail 2. There is also a commitment to develop a high-speed network to Scotland.
Rail franchises considered to be underperforming, such as Southern, would be brought back under public sector control. There are pledges to improve transport links by completing East West Rail and delivering Transport for the North’s strategy. There is a less detailed pledge to deliver “more modern, resilient links” to and within the Lib Dem’s heartland of the south west of England.
The manifesto sets out ambitious environmental pledges, including proposals for a Zero Carbon Act which will set new legally binding targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2040. A British housing and infrastructure developmen bank would be set up to boost investment in low-carbon infrastructure. Support for renewables includes the immediate go-ahead for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, while fracking is opposed and there would be no new public subsidies for nuclear new build. It also plans to pass a green transport act which would roll out ultra low emission zones in cities and the sale of diesel cars would be banned by 2025.
Tackling the skills shortages, there would be a massive expansion of apprenticeships and the party would introduce sector-led colleges.
Its Brexit negotiations would “take account” of the importance of European Union workers in the UK.
In response ICE director general Nick Baveystock said: “The Liberal Democrats’ proposals to support housebuilding and to create a housing and infrastructure development bank show a recognition that infrastructure must be at the heart of future economic policy. It is important that the party understands that successful large scale housing developments are dependent on well planned, high-quality transport, water, energy, waste and digital infrastructure. This all points to the need for a coherent, long term strategy backed by a credible and financially sustainable investment programme.
”The National Infrastructure Commission has a vital role in assessing the country’s needs and as with the Labour Party, I find myself asking for a more wholehearted recognition of the importance and mission of the NIC.”