This is entry number 123, first published on 14 April 2010, of a blog on the implementation of the Planning Act 2008. Click here for a link to the whole blog.

Today’s entry summarises what the three main parties' manifestos say about infrastructure planning.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats respectively launched their manifestos (is it manifestos or manifestoes? It seems that either is acceptable). Here we compare and contrast what they say about infrastructure planning in a digestible form  

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First, here are links to the three manifestos: Labour (78 pages), Conservative (131 pages), Lib Dem (111 pages).

The Labour and Conservative manifestos are surprisingly similar on infrastructure; the Lib Dem one takes a somewhat different approach.


Labour will establish a Green Investment Bank for energy infrastructure, financed by sale of assets matched by private sector contributions.

Conservatives will establish a Green Investment Bank to finance new green technology start-ups.

Lib Dems will establish a UK Infrastructure Bank to finance energy and transport projects.

Infrastructure Planning Commission

Labour - keep; Conservatives - abolish, replace with planning inquiries with timetables; Lib Dems - abolish, return to local decision making (?)

Transport: runways

Labour - new runway at Heathrow, no others in south-east; Conservatives - none at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted; Lib Dems - none at Heathrow or elsewhere in south-east.

High speed rail

Labour - will authorise line from London to Manchester and Leeds by hybrid bill; Conservatives - will authorise line from London to Manchester and Leeds by hybrid bill; Lib Dems - no mention other than UKIB investing in it


Labour - support; Conservatives - support; Lib Dems - no mention

Other railways

Labour will 'press ahead with a major investment programme in existing rail services, hugely improving commuter services into and through London, and electrifying new rail-lines including the Great Western Main Line from London to South Wales.'

Conservatives support the electrification of the Great Western line to South Wales. Moratorium on building over old railway lines.

Lib Dems will switch traffic from road to rail by investing in local rail improvements, such as opening closed rail lines and adding extra tracks, paid for by cutting the major roads budget.


Labour will extend hard-shoulder running on motorways, alongside targeted motorway widening including on the M25. No national road pricing. 100,000 electric vehicle charging points.

Conservatives will incentivise creation of electric car charging network.

Lib Dems will pay for rail improvements by cutting the roads budget; no mention of electric charging points, but all new cars zero carbon by 2040.

Energy: targets

Labour: 40% electricity from low-carbon by 2020, 15% of all energy from renewables, 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. Smart grid

Conservatives: 15% of energy from renewables by 2020; 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. New smart grid ('electricity internet')

Lib Dems: 40% electricity from low-carbon by 2020; 100% by 2050; at least 3/4 from offshore. Dynamic electricity grid.

Energy sources

Labour: offshore wind could increase 40-fold, alongside tidal, marine, solar and sustainable bio-energy. Will decide on Severn barrage early on.

Conservatives: will promote small- and large-scale low carbon energy production, including nuclear, wind, clean coal and biogas. Offhsore electricity grid, at least two Marine Energy Parks. Communties keep business rates for onshore wind for six years.

New nuclear

Labour - yes; Conservatives - yes (with no public subsidy); Lib Dems - no

Coal fired

Labour - four carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects; Conservatives - four CCS projects and introduce emissions performance standards; Lib Dems - only authorise with highest standards of CCS


Labour - aim for 'zero waste' Britain; ban recyclable and biodegradable materials from landfill

Conservatives - move towards zero waste society; encourage payments for recycling; floor on Landfill Tax

Lib Dems - aim for 'zero waste' and no more landfill