Monday, August 17, 2015
15 anti-green policies announced since the Tories came to power
UK energy secretary Amber Rudd (left) with Prime Minister David Cameron.
Since the Conservative party took complete control of the United Kingdom’s parliament three months ago they have revealed their true colours on energy policy and outraged many environmentalists. The party under David Cameron, who five years ago promised “the greenest government ever”, is now firmly headed in the opposite direction.
The basic trend seems to be a preference for large scale projects, offshore as opposed to onshore wind, wholesale and widely unpopular support for fracking, the oil industry and nuclear power. The biggest losers are energy efficiency in the home, onshore wind and solar power.
This is in complete contrast to the wishes of the British public, as identified by consistent polling, which is against fracking and for renewable energy.
In March 2015, in the government’s own survey, nearly four-fifths of the public (78 per cent) said they supported the use of renewable energy to provide the UK’s electricity, fuel and heat. This was broken down into offshore wind (73 per cent), biomass (63 per cent), onshore wind (65 per cent), wave and tidal (74 per cent) and solar (81 per cent). On fracking, only 24 per cent have said they support it and only 39 per cent support nuclear energy.
But the U-turn in policy is consistent with the Conservative tendency to listen to lobbyists from the nuclear and oil industries and to vocal campaigners from within rural conservative MPs’ constituencies who dislike wind turbines. At no point within the previous government did Chancellor George Osborne entertain lobbyists from the renewable energy industries.
British energy policy has long suffered from a lack of consistency, frequently lamented by the industry, which says it needs predictability in order to plan investment. Delays and about turns characterised the last years of the Labour government up to 2009 and much of the five years of the Coalition period when power was shared by the Conservatives with the greener LiberalDemocrats.