1. A new UK Climate Plan
The Government has launched an ‘extensive and open’
consultation on its review of the UK
Climate Change Programme, focussing on opportunities to further
reduce carbon emissions, including:
* The EU Emissions Trading Scheme: (EU-ETS) the
first phase, runs until 2007, covering around 46% of UK
carbon dioxide emissions. The Government is now looking beyond 2007
to consider our approach to the second phase of the scheme, from 2008-2012,
so that it can ‘give clarity on the way forward’.
* Energy Efficiency: A range of measures to stimulate
take-up of energy efficiency measures in households has already been
introduced, which include regulatory and incentive-based policies,
grants and other economic incentives, and providing information and
advice. The pre-budget report also included a £20m package of measures
to accelerate the development of energy efficient technology to help
move to a low carbon economy (see later).
* Biomass: The Government says it would like to
see ‘a rise in the production of biomass, which
will not only help meet renewable energy targets but also boost farming,
forestry and the rural economy’.
Sir Ben Gill, former NFU president, will report back soon,
on the findings of his taskforce, that is looking at optimising the contribution of
biomass to climate change (see Renew 153).
* Transport: The Government says it is committed
to ‘sustained investment in public transport,
providing the public with more environmentally friendly travel choices
and to encouraging its use through, for example, workplace travel
plans and promoting alternatives to the school run’.
It is also seeking ‘the
inclusion of intra-EU aviation in the EU-ETS’. And it is ‘considering
the feasibility of road-pricing, as well as the scope for including
surface transport into a phase of the EU ETS’.
* Biofuels: The government
says that ‘cleaner fuels, such
as biofuels, and cleaner vehicle technologies, are being encouraged’
but not everyone sees it that way- see later- so there will be plenty
of feedback on this issue as well as the others.
This is an important review- it addresses a lot of
key issues and the new Climate Plan will shape many aspects of government
policy in the years ahead. The
government organised a series of regional and sectoral
meetings with these sectors during the 12-week consultation period,
which ended on March 2nd. Margaret Beckett, DEFRA Secretary, said “It is vitally important that we engage during the review period with
all stakeholders, representing business and industry from all economic
sectors, including transport, as well as the public sector, so that
we can work together towards achieving our long-term goals”.
paper is at:
Setting the scene for the review in terms of policy
on and support for renewables, answering a Parliamentary Question in
Dec., Energy Minister Mike O’Brien pointed out that the Renewables Obligation
for the 2004-05 period is 4.9% and that it was ‘supported
by around £500 million of spending between 2002-08
to help develop emerging technologies. This will take the form
of spending on R&D and funding for capital grants. This includes
among other things grants of £117m for offshore wind, over £60m for
energy crops and biomass, £31m for PV and £12.5 m for community schemes.
In August 2004 it was announced that a special £50m Marine Renewables
Development Fund would be set up to help bridge the funding gap between
pre-commercial and supported commercial technologies’ He added ‘Renewable
energy is also exempt from the Climate Change Levy (a tax on non-domestic
energy use disaggregated by fuel type). For renewably generated electricity
this adds £4.3/MWh of support.’
UK will miss target…
One reason for the new review was because, though the
Kyoto target of a 12.5%
cut should be met, it was now admitted that the UK
was unlikely to meet the voluntary target
it had set itself of reducing C02 emissions by 20% by 2010.
In parallel with the Climate Change consultation (see
left), the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA),
published its five year strategy setting out new initiatives
and additional funding to achieve it, building on the Energy Efficiency
Action Plan published in April 2004. High on the list of priorities
* Continue the £50m Community Energy Programme,
which delivers heat networks to reduce energy bills, tackles fuel
poverty, reduces carbon emissions, and supports CHP, and the programme
will continue for at least the next three years, to March 2008, with
additional funding of £10m available once the original allocation
of £50m is exhausted.
* Undertake a high level Energy Efficiency Innovation
Review into whether technological, policy, financial and behavioural
innovation, by Government, industry or consumers, is contributing
fully to energy efficiency measures, as announced by the Chancellor
in the Pre-Budget Report. The Chancellor also announced £20m to accelerate
the development of energy efficient technology. The new funds, will
provide a focus for public and private investment in energy efficiency,
and will help to build new partnerships between experts from business,
research and policy-making.
* Improve Climate Change Communications. Defra expects to contribute
substantial new resources over the period 2005-08 to raise awareness
and change public attitudes on climate change.
* Improve social housing: ensuring public funded
programmes make a contribution to reducing carbon emissions and tackling
fuel poverty. Defra, working with ODPM, DTI and industry is playing a role
in the development of the Sustainable Buildings Code.
* Advise and support individuals,
businesses and the public sector through the activities of the Carbon
Trust and the Energy Saving Trust. Defra
has allocated an additional £10m for the Energy Savings Trust, in
addition to £60m announced in SR04 for the Carbon Trust.
‘Energy Efficiency: The Government’s Plan for Action’ published last April, set out a detailed implementation
plan aiming to save over 12 million tonnes of carbon per year by 2010-
more than half the UK’s overall carbon saving target for 2010. DEFRA
says ‘this is 20% more than we thought was possible at the time of the
White Paper and will save businesses and households over £3 billion
per year on their energy bills’. Key
measures in the Action Plan included regulatory and incentive-based
policies; grants and other economic incentives; and providing information
For example, it outlined the intention to double the
level of Energy Efficiency Commitment activity from 2005 to 2011, subject
to a review in 2007; improve the energy standards of buildings through
revisions to the Building Regulations.
New Guide for Planners
To help local councils, the Office of the Deputy Prime
Minister has produced ‘Planning
for Renewable Energy’, a comprehensive guide to accompany Planning
Policy Statement (PPS) 22. It looks at ‘best practice’, what makes a
‘good’ renewable energy application, how to assess the impact of plans
on the landscape and how to give the community greater involvement.