Balls says stop "dithering" over low-CO2 energy

11th July 2013

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Transport ,
  • Local government ,
  • Central government ,
  • Energy ,
  • Renewable



The shadow chancellor has called on the government to set a 2030 decarbonisation target for the UK's electricity supply after think tank warns that policy uncertainty is threatening new low-carbon infrastructure

Reacting to a new report from Green Alliance, which estimates that £180 billion of investment in renewables and low-carbon transport links is at risk without greater clarity from government, the shadow chancellor urged the coalition to “end the dither and finally set a decarbonisation target for 2030”.

The analysis of Treasury’s spending from the Green Alliance reveals that funds earmarked for green infrastructure up to 2020 outstrip that for carbon-intensive projects by a factor of four. The report states that more than £128 billion has been set aside for offshore wind and better rail links, while just £38 billion will be spent on new airports, gas-fired power stations and roads.

However, there is concern that funding for many low-carbon projects could fail to materialise. The think tank’s director, Matthew Spencer, warned: “The big beasts of British politics have been largely silent about this opportunity, and investor confidence has dropped as the perception has grown that the UK is not fully committed to its current low-carbon direction.”

Writing in the New Statesman, ahead of the report’s launch, Balls said: “Nobody seriously questions that in the coming decades all countries will have to generate much more energy using renewable sources. The alternative is devastating climate change, ever rising prices and energy insecurity.

“By refusing to agree a decarbonisation target in the Energy Bill, by raising the prospect of a new ‘dash to gas’ instead of renewables, by shackling the green investment bank, and by failing to implement the scale and certainty of policy needed to effectively de-risk investment, the government has actively undermined business plans to create jobs and growth.”

Energy and climate change minister, Greg Barker, responded by arguing that the coalition government was “unleashing unprecedented investment in clean energy”.

“Investment certainly is key but now, as our ambitious electricity market reforms near the finish of their progress through parliament, we have that in spades,” he claimed.

The Green Alliance report came as Greenpeace members attempted to scale London’s tallest building – the shard – in protest over government policies supporting oil and gas drilling in the Arctic.

Meanwhile, Decc announced that planning consent had been granted for the world’s largest offshore wind farm, which will be built off the Norfolk coast. The Triton Knoll wind farm will be made up of 288 turbines and generate enough electricity to power 850,000 homes, says the energy department.

Last week, prime minister David Cameron attended the official launch of what is currently the world’s biggest operational wind farm, the London Array. The wind farm in the Thames Estuary should provide enough energy for half a million homes.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Hosting the energy transition

Sarah Spencer on the clear case for stronger partnerships between farmers and renewable energy developers

6th June 2024

Read more

A system-level review is needed to deliver a large-scale programme of retrofit for existing buildings. Failure to do so will risk missing net-zero targets, argues Amanda Williams

31st May 2024

Read more

Chris Seekings reports from a webinar helping sustainability professionals to use standards effectively

31st May 2024

Read more

Although many organisations focus on scope 1 and 2 emissions, it is vital to factor in scope 3 emissions and use their footprint to drive business change

31st May 2024

Read more

Joe Nisbet explores the challenges and opportunities of delivering marine net gain through offshore renewables

31st May 2024

Read more

IEMA submits response to the Future Homes Standard consultation

31st May 2024

Read more

Hello and welcome to the June/July of Transform.

31st May 2024

Read more

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close