Government must stay focused on green energy benefits

Paul McCullagh UrbanWind
Paul McCullagh, UrbanWind

Prime Minister David Cameron has been urged to stay focused on the benefits renewable energy can deliver for Britain and its future growth, after the European Union yesterday scrapped legally-binding emissions targets.

Leading UK renewable energy firm UrbanWind is calling for a clear commitment from the coalition on policies that will help deliver jobs, improve small business sustainability and play a major part in securing the nation’s energy security. Certainty over the government’s commitment to renewable energy is needed to continue to secure vital investment in the sector, following the EU controversially softening its tough line on green energy targets.

Chief Executive Paul McCullagh has also warned the UK’s outdated planning system is blocking economic growth and job creation. UrbanWind says that there is “a growing appetite” for renewable energy from major companies, small business organisations and individual landowners looking to mitigate rising power prices and ensure their security of supply, as well as reducing their carbon footprint.

However, it warns that planning delays and ambiguous and inconsistent application of planning policy is hindering development opportunities and uncertainty over the Government’s commitment to a renewable future is only doing further harm.

McCullagh said:

“We need clarity of policy from central Government to provide certainty to the market, its development supply chain and particularly investment.

“We already have the problem of a lack of clear and consistent guidance on planning issues for on shore small and medium wind, which is allowing viable and well-placed investments to become entangled in the planning process.

“There is a growing concern that the Government is set to abandon its green pledges and commitment to growing the sector is adding to the uncertainty, which in turn will seriously harm job creation and development in the sector.

“This is only likely to increase after the EU today back-tracked on its emissions targets, following pressure from the British Government and others. The renewable energy industry can play a valuable role in generating economic growth, creating jobs and helping secure the UK’s future energy supply.

“We fully realise the debate that is going on regarding rising energy bills and their impact on households and the need to do something to mitigate that. 

“However, we believe the Government must also not lose focus of the benefits of delivering a robust renewable energy industry for the UK.

“The two aims should not be mutually exclusive. The debate on the UK’s energy needs to be fully rounded.”

He added:

“David Cameron once promised the ‘greenest government ever’.  He did that because we believed he had the vision to see what is needed for the country and the planet. We’re urging him to keep that vision in focus. The danger is that we are now seeing a policy vacuum, which will adversely impact necessary investment and threaten jobs in the sector.

“We need a clear, committed and positive statement from the Government about the future it sees for the renewables sector and we need to see movement towards a planning framework that provides greater transparency for developers and investors looking to harness renewable energy technologies.”

He pointed out that the UK wind industry currently employs more than 16,500 people in direct full-time jobs.

UrbanWind is a leading provider of renewable energy technology. Its highly-experienced and knowledgeable team has undertaken more than 500 successful turbine installations across the UK.



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