Hoping to out-green the Conservatives (see blog below), Britain’s third largest political party, the Liberal Democrats yesterday unveiled far-reaching proposals to transform Britain into a carbon-neutral economy within 40 years.

Delegates at the party’s annual conference in Brighton approved a series of measures, including plans to remove petrol-driven cars from the roads by 2040, invest billions in the railways and pour resources into renewable power to give Britain a network of non-carbon emitting electricity generators.

Chris Huhne, the party’s environment spokesman, said the party planned a sharp increase in vehicle excise duty on “gas-guzzling” cars, before an eventual ban on petrol-powered vehicles. “The EU Commission wants to set limits on car emissions but it should state clearly that no car can be sold in the EU if it still belches carbon by 2040,” he added. “It can be electric. It can be fuelled by a hydrogen cell, but we have to get tough with car makers about emissions.”