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Setting out their stall: How the parties present the key civil engineering issues

How the three main parties serve the interests of the engineering profession.

Rail

  • Labour

Will complete Crossrail and build High Speed 2, initially linking London to Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds. Deliver 1,300 new carriages by 2014. Will expand electrification of the network

  • Conservative

“Supports” Crossrail. Will build High Speed 2, serving London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds and connecting to the Channel Tunnel. Will expand electrification. Make Network Rail more accountable

  • Lib Dems

No specific mention of Crossrail. Invest in high speed rail. Pledge to switch traffic from road to rail by opening closed rail lines and adding extra tracks, paid for by cuts to the major roads budget.

 

Roads

  • Labour

Will extend the hard-shoulder running on motorways and pursue the targeted widening of motorways including the M25. No introduction of national road pricing planned during the next Parliament.

  • Conservatives

Accepts the use of some road tolls but no national road user charge. Honour Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) commitments up to 2013/14 but then reallocate spending on road pricing to a Transport Carbon Reduction Fund

  • Lib Dems

Will prepare for the introduction of road pricing in a second parliament. Pledge to scrap major road-building schemes unless the benefits are clear and reverse bus deregulation of the 1980s.

 

Airports

  • Labour

Labour supports a third runway at Heathrow, subject to strict conditions on environmental impact and flight numbers. No additional runways will be allowed at any other airport during the next Parliament.

  • Conservatives

No to expansion of Heathrow and Stansted airports. Priority is to make airports “better not bigger” instead and to break BAA’s monopoly on air capacity in the south east.

  • Lib Dems

Pledge to cancel plans for the third runway at Heathrow and any expansion of other airports in the South East.

 

Flooding and water supply

  • Labour

Will introduce a wider law to implement the Pitt Review in full after the General Election. Pledge to support and implement European Union efforts to improve water quality

  • Conservatives

Will bring in new water conservation measures to encourage businesses and households to “value this precious resource more highly”. Pledge to implement the Pitt Review to improve flood management

  • Lib Dems

Lib Dems will stop new housing developments in high flood risk areas, introduce smart meters in areas of shortage and introduce landscape-scale planning policies to reduce flood risk by restoring water channels, rivers and wetlands

 

Low Carbon

  • Labour

Will aim for 40% low-carbon electricity by 2020 with target for 60% cut in UK carbon emissions by 2050. Will seek bigger European emissions reductions from 20% to 30% by 2020. Green Investment Bank to invest in low-carbon

  • Conservatives

Will cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. Reform the Climate Change Levy to provide a floor price for carbon. Green Investment Bank to finance new green technology. Green ISAs to provide further finance

  • Lib Dems

Commitment to a Zero Carbon Britain by 2050. Will move immediately to a European emissions reductions target of 30% by 2020. Will set up an Infrastructure Bank to direct private finance to green energy projects.

 

Energy

  • Labour

A new generation of nuclear power stations will be part of Labour’s low-carbon energy strategy. All new coal-fired power stations will be required to include carbon capture and storage demonstration

  • Conservatives

Plan to clear the way for new nuclear power stations. Plan to build four carbon capture and storage-equipped plants. Will expand offshore wind and marine power and provide government backing for Marine Energy Parks

  • Lib Dems

Commitment to a non-nuclear Britain by 2050. All new coal-fired power stations must use full carbon capture technology. Invest up to £400M in refurbishing shipyards so that they can manufacture marine renewable energy equipment

 

Planning

  • Labour

Labour wants to use the Infrastructure Planning Commission to speed-up decision-making on major projects. Retain and strengthen Regional Development Agencies

  • Conservatives

Will abolish the Infrastructure Planning Commission. Will also abolish or reform regional development agencies, plus the entire tier of regional planning, including regional

  • Lib Dems

Will abolish Infrastructure Planning Commission and ensure that the composition of the regional select committees is based on the representation of political parties in affected regions, not nationally.

 

Read up on the full party manifestos:

Conservatives

Labour

Lib Dems

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