A promise by the Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, to establish a Green Investment Bank has been welcomed by the environmental group, Friends of the Earth. But they said that the plan must be combined with measures to overcome fuel poverty if it is to be effective.
Cameron announced the policy on Friday (19 March), along with Greg Clark, the Shadow Energy Secretary.
“Our policies will deliver secure, sustainable and affordable energy for the years ahead, while boosting investment and creating jobs,” said Clark “Ours is a plan to turn a threat into an opportunity, demonstrating the energy, leadership and values needed to get Britain back on track”.
The Executive Director of Friends of the Earth, Andy Atkins, agreed that “a Green Investment Bank is desperately needed”.
He said it would “fund the replacement of the UK's outdated fossil-fuel energy infrastructure with the clean energy technologies of the 21st century, and... create new green industries and jobs”.
But he insisted that the Conservatives’ policies “fall well short of what is required to cut energy waste from homes, commerce and industry”.
Friends of the Earth urged the Tories to set out a “clear strategy to tackle fuel poverty”.
They explained that “this includes regulating private landlords to prevent them from letting poorly insulated properties and ensuring that local authorities work with energy companies to renovate Britain's housing stock street by street."
Friends of the Earth is also critical of other Conservative plans. They say that they fail to identify the need for a clear industrial policy that will ensure that the new jobs and industries created by greening the energy system are located in the UK and not overseas.
However, the organisation has also urged other parties to give greater priority to the environment as they set out their policies in the run-up to the general election, widely expected to be held on 6 May.
"Action on climate change and energy security is a top priority for whichever party wins the general election” said Atkins.