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#GE2015: Most popular policies from Vote for Policies (Part two)

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On Wednesday at 1800 we will publish the People’s Manifesto 2015. This will be based on the hundreds of thousands of you who have used the Vote for Policies survey to find which party’s policies most aligns your views and beliefs. To see 2010’s People’s Manifesto click here.

This is the state of play as of midday on Friday. Today we deal with the Environment, Crime, Democracy, Europe and Foreign Policy/Defence. Yesterday we looked at the top five Health/NHS, Education, Economy, Welfare and Immigration.

Environment, Labour

1. The new Infrastructure Commission will prioritise investment in flood prevention. We will deal with the problems of air pollution by giving local authorities the powers they need, backed up by a national framework.

2. Keep our forests in public ownership, and promote access to green spaces in local planning.

3. Support the work of the Natural Capital Committee to protect and improve wildlife habitats and green spaces, and make them an important part of our thriving tourism industry.

4. Expand the role of the Department of International Development to mitigate the risks of a changing climate, and support sustainable livelihoods for the world’s poorest people.

5. Make the case [at the UNFCCC conference in Paris, in December 2015] for ambitious emissions targets for all countries, strengthened every five years on the basis of a scientific assessment of the progress towards the below two degree goal.

6. Push for a goal of net zero global emissions in the second half of this century, for transparent and universal rules for measuring, verifying and reporting emissions, and for an equitable deal in which richer countries provide support to poorer nations in combatting climate change.

7. Protect animal welfare – ending the inhumane and ineffective badger cull, maintaining the ban on hunting with dogs, and introducing a ban on wild animals in circuses.

Crime, Green Party

1. Expand the use of restorative justice, with the offender making amends to the victim and the community.

2. Restrict police use of random stop and search powers.

3. Treat drug addiction as a health problem rather than as a crime.

4. Improve the design of our cities to provide safer streets and public spaces.

5. Focus on crime prevention measures, including more community policing under local democratic control and more local police stations.

6. Oppose the privatisation of policing and the probation service.

7. Provide proper funding for Women’s Refuges for survivors of domestic violence, and make domestic abuse a specific criminal offence.

8. Provide access to real work and education for prisoners, the work to include repairing damage done by crime, and literacy and numeracy classes from the first day of imprisonment.

Democracy, Liberal Democrats

1. Reform the House of Lords with a proper democratic mandate starting from the 2012 Bill.

2. Get big money out of politics with a £10,000 cap on donations and reform of party political funding.

3. Reform our voting systems for elections to local government and Westminster. We will introduce the Single Transferable Vote for local government elections in England and for electing MPs across the UK, while transferring responsibility for the local government election system in Wales to the Welsh Assembly.

4. Better democracy with votes at 16.

5. Delivering on promises made to Scotland and the rest of the UK and transfer more powers from Westminster and Whitehall to the nations and communities of the UK.

6. “Devolution on demand” to transfer more power and control to areas within England.

7. Pass a new Freedoms Act, to protect citizens from excessive state powers and improve rights of access to information.

8. Protect your privacy by updating data laws for the internet age with a Digital Bill of Rights.

Europe, Labour

1. Return Britain to a leadership role in Europe, but reform the EU so that it works for Britain.

2. Guarantee no powers will be transferred to Brussels without an in/out referendum.

3. Focus on the completion of the single market and tougher budget discipline, including on those items where spending at the EU level can save money at the national level.

4. Drive reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and a Commission led zero­based review of spending on EU agencies to reduce waste and inefficiency.

5. We will not join the Euro, and we will ensure EU rules protect the interests of non­Euro members.

6. Secure reforms to immigration and social security rules, as well as pushing for stronger transitional controls, which will enable member states to manage the flow of workers for longer when new countries join.

7. Continue to open up EU decision­making, and implement institutional reforms to help build levels of trust among European citizens.

8. Work to strengthen the influence national parliaments have over European legislation, by arguing for a ‘red card mechanism’ for member states.

Foreign Policy/Defence, UKIP

1. Reduce the foreign aid budget to £4 billion (more than given by Spain and Italy combined) and prioritise sanitation and clean water programmes, disaster relief, inoculation and healthcare.

2. Spend 2% of GPD on defence to honour our commitment to NATO.

3. Keep our nuclear deterrent.

4. Give Parliament the final say on whether we go to war.

5. Protect Gibraltar, the Falklands and all overseas British Territories.

6. Guarantee those who have served in the Armed Forces for a minimum of 12 years a job in the police force, prison service or border force.

7. Create a dedicated Minister for Veterans to look after our war heroes.

8. Support a National Service Medal for all those who have served in the armed forces.

You can still see which party’s policies most matches your own views by using the Vote for Policies survey here, or see your local Vote for Policies results here.

To see the how parties are doing by policy across the country take a look here.

To see the newly released Guide to Sustainable Democracy, click here.

Photo: Khairil Zhafri via Flickr

Further reading:

General election: attention given to sustainability in campaigns criticised

Simon Leadbetter is the founder and publisher of Blue & Green Tomorrow. He has held senior roles at Northcliffe, The Daily Telegraph, Santander, Barclaycard, AXA, Prudential and Fidelity. In 2004, he founded a marketing agency that worked amongst others with The Guardian, Vodafone, E.On and Liverpool Victoria. He sold this agency in 2006 and as Chief Marketing Officer for two VC-backed start-ups launched the online platform Cleantech Intelligence (which underpinned the The Guardian’s Cleantech 100) and StrategyEye Cleantech. Most recently, he was Marketing Director of Emap, the UK’s largest B2B publisher, and the founder of Blue & Green Communications Limited.

Economy

How Going Green Can Save A Company Money

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going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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Energy

5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable

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sustainable homes
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By Diyana Dimitrova

Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.

1. Weather stripping

If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.

Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.

Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.

2. Programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Olivier Le Moal

Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.

Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!

3. Low-flow water hardware

With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.

Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.

Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.

4. Energy efficient light bulbs

An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.

New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.

5. Installing solar panels

Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.

Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.

From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!

These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.

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