The announcement in today’s Queen’s Speech of the establishment of the Green Investment Bank and the Electricity Market Reform Bill was hailed as an important, albeit belated, step towards steering Britain to a low carbon future by Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group.
He did add that the measures should be clearly understood to be an important investment in Britain’s economy, and called on the government to clarify its plans to fund the measures.
“This is a positive step after two years of lack of direction on the environment and the low carbon economy – but we need more details on the government’s funding commitments.
“The world’s low carbon energy market is expected to triple to almost £1.4tn by 2020. There is a window of opportunity here and now for Britain. We cannot afford any more delays in kick starting the much vaunted green investment programme without running the danger of leaving the UK lagging further behind in the global market place.
“Today’s announcements represent a potentially important investment in Britain’s future, and also the global economy. However, it cannot be a half-hearted effort. It needs to be backed with real money if we are to take full advantage of the benefits of a clean economy in terms of new jobs and enhanced energy security.
“The coalition faces a critical choice – be a premier nation in the new global economy, or face relegation to second tier status. Today’s Queen’s Speech is a step in the right direction. However, the success of these measures will be dictated by the degree to which the government is prepared to invest in them.
“The government needs to provide clear leadership on the low carbon economy. This is the only way to attract investment, spur economic growth, create more jobs and lower energy bills.”
These thoughts were mirrored by Dr Colin Brown, director of engineering at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, who said, “The confirmation of a bill to introduce Electricity Market Reform is welcome and long overdue. With the UK’s nuclear programme in disarray, wind power under increasing pressure and uncertainty over Feed-in-Tariffs squeezing the UK solar industry, Electricity Market Reform is the government’s best chance to ensure a secure, clean and affordable energy supply in the coming decades. They need to get it right and they need to get it done.”
“However, the warm words about rebalancing the economy in the introduction to the Queen’s Speech are not matched by any significant legislation to help UK manufacturing. Our manufacturers and engineers are crying out for an industrial strategy backed by strong legislation that can support their efforts to drive the economy back towards growth. This speech has not delivered it.”