It stressed a wish to 'free local councils from many of the stifling controls of central government', with the Audit Commission as local government's sole inspectorate.
The party has dropped its decades-old enthusiasm for English regional government and proposed that Whitehall powers should go direct to councils, and that county councils would recover strategic planning powers from regions.
Abolition of council tax is a flagship policy for the Liberal Democrats, who would replace this with local income tax, which the party called 'fair and affordable'. Typical households would save£450 a year from a tax based on ability to pay, the party claimed amid graphic warnings of 'huge and arbitrary rises' from the 2007 revaluation.
Specific Liberal Democrat policies for councils include a long-term goal of zero municipal waste. The manifesto does not indicate how long this would take, but said 60% of household waste should be recycled within seven years.
Councils' local development plans would have to include targets for carbon dioxide emission reductions.
The party opposes major road building and would switch resources to public transport.
>> Compare the parties' stances on local government issues and all the breaking election news on the www.lgcnet.com elections 2005 minisite.