Election 2015: Ecotricity develops ‘Green Britain’ vision

The next government could deliver a £5bn surge in GDP by adopting electric cars; a saving of almost £8bn on Britain's annual oil import bill; and £1.25bn in health and environmental benefits, if it is willing to tackle the nation's energy and environmental issues head-on.

That’s the view of independent green energy supplier Ecotricity, which partnered with consultancy firm Cambridge Econometrics to model the economic impacts of a ‘Green Britain’, where the winning party at this week’s General Election really does turn out to be the ‘greenest government ever’.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said: “This is a part manifesto, part vision piece that presents a vision of the kind of Britain we think we should be living in – and it shows how we can get there.

“The document is intended to spur people’s imagination. Some of it might seem a stretch, some of it is actually easier than we think – but all of it is possible. What matters is getting people thinking about the next government and the energy and environmental issues it needs to confront.

“The next government must think and act more ambitiously on these issues, and this manifesto gives a good roadmap on how to achieve that.”

Key steps 

Ecotricity’s 2030 Vision for a Green Britain outlines the key policy steps needed to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy, which include: –

Creating a Minister for Carbon – to set carbon limits across all sectors of the economy

Ensuring Britain’s power generation is 80% renewable by 2030 – saving £11.7bn in fossil fuel costs

Implementing ‘Quantitative Greening’ – deploying quantitative easing by the Bank of England directly into the renewables sector

Ending fossil fuel subsidies – all government support for fossil fuels cut off by 2025

Increasing support for electric cars – including scrapping VAT, helping to ensure all new cars are electric by 2030

Political support

The document has been welcomed by the green representatives of both the Lib Dems and Labour. Current Energy Secretary and Lib Dem MP Ed Davey said: “We should all support the idea of a Green Britain, and there’s no doubt that we need to set ambitious targets and implement innovative policies to achieve that. That’s what Ecotricity’s vision piece offers, and it’s certainly a document worth engaging with to draw out some of the key steps we might follow.”

Labour’s shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint added: “The next Labour government will commit Britain to decarbonising our electricity supply by 2030 to give business like Ecotricity certainty to invest so we can create a million green jobs over the next decade and invest in green technology and green infrastructure to power Britain’s economy forward into the future.”

YOUR VIEW: Readers’ poll

The main party leaders have all committed to prioritise climate action in the next parliament, with the manifestos seemingly committed to the continued decarbonisation of the UK economy.

Labour’s ‘Red Ed’ evidently went green; reaffirming some bold pledges on climate change and decarbonising the UK energy supply. Prime Minister David Cameron wasn’t so promising. The Conservatives in fact came under fire for ignoring waste policy and threatening to end onshore wind subsidies. 

The Green Party’s document perhaps predictably touted the most ambitious policies, while the Lib Dem’s Five Green Laws were as prominent as promised by Ed Davey. 

Meanwhile, UKIP’s controversy continued into the environment, with Nigel Farage’s party essentially promising to end the majority of the UK’s green polices and rejuvenate the coal industry. 

Ecotricity’s Dale concluded: “The politicians we put in power in 2015 will lead the UK through a vital time for its green future. When in 2030 we come to look back and assess our progress, will we be celebrating, or regretting, the decisions made by the next government? This election should be about our green future, and we’re not hearing enough about that.”

REPORT: Ecotricity’s 2030 Vision

Luke Nicholls

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