Paul McCullagh, chief executive of UrbanWind, has called on prime minister David Cameron to stay focused on the benefits of green energy, in the wake of the EU’s decision not to impose legally binding renewable energy targets on member states.
McCullagh argues that a clear commitment is needed from the coalition government on policies that will help deliver jobs, improve small business sustainability and play a major part in securing the nation’s energy security.
He adds that the UK’s outdated planning system is also blocking economic growth and job creation.
He said: “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, 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.
“We need clarity of policy from central Government to provide certainty to the market, its development supply chain and particularly investment.
“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.
“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.”
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.”