The cross-party committee is urging the Government to restore investor confidence in the future of energy policy by setting a clear decarbonisation objective in the forthcoming Energy Bill.

Chair of the Committee, Joan Walley MP said: “The Autumn Statement sets the course of economic policy for the foreseeable future.

“The Treasury must end the uncertainty on energy policy and give investors and businesses the confidence to seize the enormous opportunities presented by new clean technologies. A second ‘dash for gas’ could lock the UK into a high-carbon energy system that leaves us vulnerable to rising gas prices.

“The Government needs to reassure investors by setting a clear target in the Energy Bill to clean up the power sector by 2030.”

Each year the committee examines the environmental aspects of the Budget as part of its role to scrutinise the Government’s efforts to embed sustainable development principles in its policy-making.

This year’s examination voices concerns that the Treasury views the environment as a cost or block to economic development.

“Recent statements by the Chancellor intensify our concerns, including his reported reference to environmentalists as the ‘green taliban’,” said the committee.

Comments from MPs outside the Treasury have also worried the committee.

“Recent comments by the Energy Minister John Hayes MP on the limits of onshore wind power projects, before being contradicted by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey MP have also added to an impression of inconsistency in environmental policy making,” the committee said.

The inquiry’s finding appeared to confirm the CBI’s warning that ongoing policy uncertainty could cause the UK to lose out on almost £400m in annual net exports by 2014-15.

Organisations such as the Aldersgate Group, Friends of the Earth, Green Alliance, E3G, the Association for the Conservation of Energy and the Environmental Industries Commission, provided suggestions for boosting the uptake of energy-efficient measures in the UK.

These included Council Tax rebates for energy efficient homes and ‘recycling’ revenues from the Carbon Price Support and EU Emissions Trading System into support for energy efficiency.

Conor McGlone

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