Low-carbon economy progress too slow

The Confederation of Business Industy (CBI) says the government is falling behind on its progress to a low-carbon economy.

Launching its latest Climate Change Tracker, the CBI says uncertainty about how the planning system will operate is slowing the process down.

The Climate Change Tracker has highlighted 37 energy infrastructure projects awaiting a decision, inherited from the previous government, including wind farms, nuclear and gas-fired power stations.

The CBI says the government to tackle a backlog of planning applications awaiting approval.

The organisation also warns that the Government’s proposed changes to the CRC have removed an important incentive for businesses to improve energy efficiency.

The Government’s decision to delay the second phase of CRC has not allayed concerns among businesses about how the scheme will work, it says.

There is a danger that the lack of confidence and certainty in critical areas such as planning, the CRC and electricity market reform will mean the UK will not be able to meet climate change targets.

CBI director-general designate, John Cridland, said: “Changes to the Carbon Reduction Commitment and the planning system have created a mood of uncertainty among investors.

“An effective planning system is at the heart of building the low-carbon infrastructure needed to transform our economy.

“Meanwhile, businesses that take steps to cut their emissions should be rewarded, not penalised. That’s why the CRC needs changing to ensure it is an incentive for action.

“This Government has great green ambition, but we need to see swift action if it is to fulfil its green promise.”

The CBI has set out the actions it believes are needed to get the UK on track to meet its 2020 emissions reduction targets.

This includes clearing the delayed planning applications, finalising the Electricty Market Reform plans, changing the Carbon Reduction Commitment to incentivise energy efficiency among companies and clarifying the details of the Green Deal.

A copy of the CBI’s latest Climate Change Tracker can be found here.

Alison Brown

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