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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 September 2007, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
At-a-glance: Tory quality of life
The Conservative Party's Quality of Life Policy Group has produced its final 500-plus page report. None of its ideas are official party policy but leader David Cameron says much of it will be in the party's manifesto. Here are the group's main suggestions:


  • There is a need to provide Britain with a new national purpose, which will commit to vigorously tackling climate change but which will also ensure the country does not suffer in economic or social terms in the process.
  • Climate change brings humanity face-to-face with its responsibilities, establishing a better way to share the planet with each other now, and being responsible towards future generations.
  • Over the past two decades, Labour and Conservative governments have been too slow to recognise the magnitude of the problem.
  • Tony Blair should be credited for moving climate change up the international agenda, but the electorate clearly relate more to the campaigning of former US Vice-President Al Gore than anything Mr Blair did.
  • Britain has some catching up to do compared to countries such as Japan and Germany, which have placed greater priority on the environment.

  • The true environmental costs of transport should be paid by the user.
  • There should be a significant moratorium on the building of roads and airport terminals.
  • There should be no new runway at Stansted or Gatwick, and a rethink of the proposed third runway for Heathrow.
  • Scaling back airport expansion would encourage operators to make the most of the capacity available to them.
  • Air Passenger Duty should be payable per flight rather than per passenger, so airlines have greater incentive to fill empty seats onboard planes.
  • VAT should be added to the price of a domestic UK flight.
  • About a fifth of the 470,000 flights from London's Heathrow airport each year go to destinations where there are reasonable rail links, such as Edinburgh, Manchester or Paris. Passengers should be going by rail rather than flying.
  • Celebrities and business leaders who use private planes to travel should be taxed according to their carbon emissions.
  • A review of priority destinations for rail travellers would lead to more high-speed rail links between the north and south of Britain, with greater investment to remove bottlenecks.
  • The pricing structure of train tickets should be simplified.
  • A new top band for vehicle excise duty would cover large 4x4 vehicles.
  • A purchase tax of between 0% and 10% would be introduced on all new cars, graded according to emissions.
  • School buses in rural areas should carry adults as well as children to improve access to public transport outside of cities and large towns.
  • There is no reason why several British cities should not have bicycle-hire schemes, with bikes widely available in central locations.

  • Local councils should have greater powers to decide environmental policies, including the power to hold referendums, the prioritisation of different methods of transport and encouraging people to work and shop nearer to their homes.
  • Supply chains should be established to promote the consumption of locally-produced food rather than goods imported from overseas or transported around the UK in lorries.
  • Greater value should be placed on the role of farmers in society, recognising that sustainable domestic food production can empower local communities.

  • Binding, long-term targets are needed to cut carbon emissions, along with international standards for measuring such emissions.
  • Objects as diverse as power stations and plasma-screen TVs should be subjected to strict rules about energy efficiency.
  • Within 10 years, "smart" electricity meters would be linked to gas and water meters in households. These would be useful in informing homeowners how much energy and water they were wasting.
  • People and businesses should be encouraged to use and waste less packaging.
  • In 20 years' time, any materials which could be recycled or composted would be banned from landfill sites, while no recyclable items could be incinerated.

  • Stamp duty should be abolished on homes which have a very low carbon footprint.
  • Local authorities would have the power to reduce council tax bills on low-carbon properties, and homes which reused water efficiently, as incentives to occupants to be greener.
  • Public buildings should be forced to adopt the highest possible energy performance standards.
  • There should be greater incentives to construct eco-friendly homes.
  • Construction companies must take the lead in ensuring new buildings are as green as possible, and to prioritise the environment when considering ways to revamp existing buildings.
  • Home Information Packs (Hips) should be abolished by any incoming Conservative government and replaced with National Building Standards, which would ensure all properties reached required standards.
  • Walking, cycling and using public transport should be prioritised as part of the planning process for any new neighbourhoods.

  • Britain's influence should be used to help secure binding global targets on climate change.
  • The public sector has a tremendous collective purchasing power, so the government and its agencies should use their influence to promote greener choices, whether choosing which paper to buy for printers or approving the construction of an office block.

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