The CBI has taken a shot at the government over the system of planning for Green energy projects and warned that business still has concerns over the future of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) energy efficiency scheme.
The CBI believes uncertainty about how the planning system will operate is undermining the Coalition’s pledge to be the “greenest government ever”, the CBI said in launching its latest Climate Change Tracker, which charts progress in de-carbonising four areas: power, buildings, transport and industry. Of the 13 indicators, one is green showing progress is on track (nuclear), three are red for little progress (homes, buildings and industry) and 9 are amber showing good ambition but insufficient delivery.
The group called on the Government to tackle a raft of planning applications awaiting approval and to ensure the transition to its new Major Infrastructure Unit is smooth.
It highlighted 37 energy infrastructure projects awaiting a decision, inherited from the previous government. These include wind farms, nuclear and gas-fired power stations, which are essential for delivering a balanced and sustainable energy mix.
The CBI also warned that the Government’s proposed changes to the CRC had removed an important incentive for businesses to improve energy efficiency. The Government’s subsequent decision to delay the second phase of CRC has not allayed concerns among businesses about how the scheme will work.
Without confidence and certainty in critical areas such as planning, the CRC and electricity market reform, the CBI believes investment needed for low-carbon buildings and infrastructure will not be unlocked, endangering the UK’s ability to meet climate change targets.
John Cridland, CBI Director-General Designate warned that 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,” he said, adding that ‘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 needed to get the UK on track to meet its 2020 emissions reduction targets. In the next six months the CBI is calling for the Government to:
· Clear the backlog of delayed planning applications
· Finalise Electricity Market Reform plans
· Support investors with a prompt national planning statement on energy
· Change the Carbon Reduction Commitment to incentivise energy efficiency among companies
· Approve the first carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration project
· Ensure long-term incentives for the success of electric vehicles beyond 2012
· Clarify the details of the Green Deal to ensure it will stimulate consumer demand.