Budget 2010: How green is it?

The Government has cast possibly its last roll of the die in a bid to seek an historic fourth Labour term with today's (March 24) budget announcement.

Green commentators have given chancellor Alistair Darling’s plans an initial thumbs up as they delve into his budget.

Mr Darling has outlined plans to improve Britain’s aging energy infrastructure, a green investment bank and support for more electric vehicles.

Environmental investment group Climate Change Capital’s head of energy and environment, Ben Caldecott, welcomed plans to improve infrastructure.

He said: “The renewal of Britain’s ageing energy infrastructure in a carbon constrained world will require investment at a scale and speed not seen for a generation.

“After the Conservative Party’s announcements on Friday, it is encouraging to see a cross-party consensus emerge on the need for change.

“However, any reforms must be completed quickly and investors that have committed capital under existing market arrangements should be protected, otherwise investment could dry up at exactly the moment it is desperately needed to ramp up.”

Much anticipated plans for a green investment bank were also warmly welcomed with the UK Green Building Council claiming it could lead to a ‘revolution’.

But chief executive, Paul King, also hoped it would not take away from other ‘high profile’ issues.

He said: “The green investment bank could lead to a low carbon revolution.

“However, energy efficiency must not be a poor relation to high-profile issues like offshore wind and high-speed rail.

“Refurbishment of our homes and buildings offers the greatest cost-effective carbon savings, as well as alleviating fuel poverty and creating jobs.”

Chairman of the Aldersgate Group, Peter Young, welcomed the plans but called for them to be ‘scaled up’.

He said: “The new green investment bank is rightly at the heart of the Government’s growth and jobs strategy.

“The initial £2bn of equity is a good start but must be rapidly scaled up over the next Parliament.

“The total low carbon investment needed by 2020 is at least £250bn, leading to more secure jobs and a more prosperous future.”

Founder of 100% renewable power firm Good Energy, Juliet Davenport, was delighted about green transport plans

She said: “It is good to hear the Government is supported more backing for green transport, but called for assurance the power would come from renewable sources.

“However, if we are to create a truly green electric transport infrastructure, we must ensure the car charging points in every town centre run from 100% renewable electricity only.

“This is the only way to ensure that the transport sector reduces its emissions rather than just causing them to be produced in power stations elsewhere.”

Luke Walsh

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