WWF-UK comments on the UK’s energy security and green economy bill

December 9th, 2010 by WWF

WWF commends the UK Government for introducing a piece of legislation designed to secure a green energy future but calls for more clarity on the Green Deal and how it will deliver the proposed ‘step change’ in the provision of energy efficiency measures to homes and businesses. In particular, WWF is concerned that the government may still be focusing on small-scale pledges on home insulation, as opposed to seeing the bigger picture, and creating a transformational piece of policy that will ensure the UK meets its legally binding carbon reduction targets.

David Norman, Director of Campaigns at WWF-UK, said: “This is an important piece of legislation showing the steps the Government will be taking to reduce our need for energy and our traditional reliance on dirty fossil fuels. With the right level of ambition, every home in Britain could be transformed, and within a few years, we could be using a lot less energy. It’s important then, that the Green Deal is not let down by uncertainty amongst businesses and investors through lack of clarity, and a lack of public appetite. The scheme must have value in the eye of homeowners and businesses for it to be a success.”

“Business will only be interested in delivering the Green Deal if they can see a clear strategic direction for this scheme, and the scheme will only catch on with the public if there are clear financial incentives. Our research shows that homeowners are potentially very interested in the Green Deal but need low interest loans and other incentives to make it worth their while.”

Ahead of the Bill’s publication on 10 December 2010, WWF-UK also called upon the Government to start implementing necessary measures to decarbonise the economy, as outlined by the Committee on Climate Change in their Fourth Carbon Budget Report.

David Norman added: “The Energy Bill provides a clear opportunity to introduce powers to set up an emissions performance standard; otherwise it could be years before such a standard is in place. To achieve the UK’s carbon targets under the Climate Change Act, the power sector must be almost totally decarbonised by 2030. An emissions performance standard, placing a legal limit on emissions from all new power stations, would help to achieve this, providing certainty for investors and industry as to the direction of travel for the sector. Such a standard was a pre-election commitment of both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, and was included in the coalition agreement.”

“The Energy Bill should also remove a set of particularly damaging provisions in the Crown Estate leases granted to offshore wind companies. These provisions currently allow the early termination of leases if oil and gas is subsequently discovered in a nearby area of the seabed. Where there is a conflict between offshore renewables and environmentally damaging oil and gas exploration, priority should clearly be given to renewable energy projects, in light of the UK’s climate change commitments and the sector’s potential to create a substantial number of new jobs in the UK.”

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WWF and the Great British Refurb Campaign surveyed over 2000 adults, in order to gauge the level of interest from the public for a proposed Green Deal programme that would improve the energy efficiency of their home.   A one-off council tax rebate is a real motivator with 49 per cent saying they would be likely to take up the Green Deal if the Government can offer a £500 council tax rebate.  Low interest rates (which are not included in the current Government proposals) are also key to a greater proportion of the public taking up to the Green Deal.  If offered an interest rate of 2 per cent through the Green Deal, 34 per cent say that they are ‘very’ or ‘fairly likely’ to take it up with a low interest rate of 2 per cent. However, this percentage drops to a mere 11 per cent with an interest rate of 4 per cent each year and just 7 per cent with an interest rate of 6 per cent per annum.

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