Carbon initiatives over-focus on big business, say IEMA members

27th February 2015

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Andrew Richard Maidment

Government carbon reduction polices have over-focused on the very largest companies and neglected wider business, according to a poll of IEMA members.

IEMA polled members to explore climate change and energy policies in the lead-up to the election. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (63%) believe there is a need for the next government to rationalise the number of energy and carbon schemes affecting the very largest organisations.

At the same time, over half (53%) recognise a case for more financial support to smaller businesses such as tax breaks or loans for implementing energy savings measures.

The survey also found 91% of members agree the next government will need to work hard to strengthen its leadership and commitment on domestic and international climate change issues.

Other results from the poll, which gained 833 responses, include:

• 92% of IEMA members agree with a call for the next government to strengthen its commitment and investment to manage climate risks such as flood risk management.

• 66% say they do not believe that gas from hydraulic fracturing in the UK has a role to play as a “strategic transition fuel” in the nation’s future energy provision. Instead, over 72% of those said that the next government should prioritise investment in energy conservation schemes. The respondents also showed overwhelming support for increased funding for a mix of renewable and alternative energy schemes to address any potential short- to medium-term energy gaps.

• “Leading by example in carbon reduction” is recognised by 59% of respondents as the top priority for UK international commitments.

The results come less than two weeks after the three main party leaders signed a cross-party declaration to tackle climate change. However, when asked which party leader is the strongest on climate policies David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband gained a combined vote of less than one quarter of the responses (23%).

Over half of IEMA’s members said that they believe Natalie Bennett of the Green Party demonstrates the strongest leadership on climate change. A further fifth said they didn’t know who demonstrated the strongest leadership.

IEMA’s lead on climate change Nick Blyth said: “IEMA members are making a strong call for renewed political climate leadership from the next UK government. Recent pledges from the main party leaders are welcome signs of intent, but clearly professionals working on the receiving end of past government policy are not fully convinced.

“IEMA will look to engage constructively with the next government, working with our members to present critical evidence and experience from front line climate change professionals,” he said.

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