New government energy rules could undermine climate strategy

By staff writers
27 Jan 2011

A new report from the Energy and Climate Change Committee released on 26 January warns that new UK planning rules could lead to a new 'dash for gas' and stall low-carbon energy investment.

The report is deeply critical of the Government’s National Policy Statements (NPSs), which are designed to speed up the planning process for major energy projects.

It says the NPSs could delay investment in renewables and other low carbon technologies, making the UK’s climate change targets impossible to reach.

The Committee warns that too much reliance on gas will push renewables out of the energy mix.

The green campaigning charity Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to amend its NPSs to ensure that they play their part in meeting UK climate targets.

Friends of the Earth's Senior Economics campaigner Simon Bullock said: "MPs are right to be concerned about a new dash-for-gas - this would damage our energy security, increase carbon emissions and obstruct green energy investment.

"The National Policy Statement must set a cap on the amount of carbon-belching energy generation allowed in the UK - which must be linked to the Government's climate change goals to give markets certainty about investing in green power.

"Developing our huge renewable energy potential could help get us out of the economic doldrums, wean us off fossil fuels and create new green industries and jobs - but reforming the Government's energy policy is essential to make this a reality."

According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, £200 billion of investment in the country’s energy infrastructure is needed by 2020 to cope with increased demand and climate change targets.

But the committee's report finds that the six draft NPSs do not prioritise low carbon or renewable generation over conventional technologies. Neither do the Government’s plans specify where and how that £200 billion investment should best be spent.

[Ekk/4]

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