Rudd: Government taking ‘pro-business’ approach to decarbonisation

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has defended the Tory Government's controversial green policies, claiming they are designed to deliver climate action in a way that is "pro-growth, pro-business".

Speaking at a climate change conference hosted by UK insurer Aviva, Rudd reiterated that the Conservative Party’s current approach to energy and climate change would keep the costs of bills down and “encourage businesses to innovate, grow and create jobs”.

She pointed out that the UK is on track to breach the Levy Control Framework – the pot of money for green subsidies – by £1.5bn by 2020.

“We need to reduce our emissions in the most cost-effective way,” said Rudd. “This is a long term transformation. We have to pace ourselves so that energy bills remain affordable for households, business remains competitive, and the economy remains secure.”

Cutting back

The Conservatives’ first six months in office have seen a flurry of dramatic cost-saving measures; including significant subsidy cuts for solar and wind power, and the end of efficiency measures for homes.

But the backlash has been equally severe. In the past week alone, the Government has been publically castigated by the head of the CBI John Cridland and former US vice-president Al Gore.

CBI director-general Cridland warned that the current approach was far from pro-business, and risked ruining Britain’s reputation as an attractive market for low carbon investment. “Today’s investors are more uncertain about the UK’s low-carbon future,” he said.

“From the roll-back of renewables to the mixed messages on energy efficiency, these changes send a worrying signal about the UK as a place for low-carbon investment.”

Despite the criticism, figures released this week by Rudd’s Department of Energy and Climate Change revealed a record-breaking second quarter for renewables, as it outperformed coal for the first time ever.

However, industry insiders were quick to warn that the progress of renewable energy technologies would be short-live under current punitive policy conditions.

RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffery said: “If Ministers want to see good statistics like we’ve had today continuing into the years ahead, they have to knuckle down, listen to the high level of public support we enjoy, and start making positive announcements on wind, wave and tidal energy.”

Brad Allen

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie