Archived press release
Press & Media

Commenting on the Government's programme of proposed new laws outlined in today's Queen's Speech, Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins said:

"New green laws are the key to unlocking the enormous potential of a low carbon economy.

"It is essential that the new legislation delivers on the coalition's election promises, such as a Green Investment Bank and pollution standards for power stations - saying they 'may' be included in the Energy Bill is just not good enough.

"Harnessing the UK's massive green energy resource and getting tough on energy waste will create new jobs and business opportunities, increase energy security and help make this country a world leader in tackling climate change.

"The Government must also ensure that every council plays its part in meeting UK climate targets by introducing local carbon budgets in the Decentralisation and Localism Bill.

"Councils should be able to decide the best strategy for cutting emissions in their area - but they mustn't be allowed to opt out of playing their fair part in developing a greener future."

Notes to editors:

1.      Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to use its legislative programme to fast-track the development of a low-carbon economy. The green campaigning charity is calling for the following measures to be included in the proposed new laws.

ENERGY BILL

·    Long term home energy efficiency loans.

These should be attached to the home, not the homeowners, and under-written by the Government to keep the interest rate low.  According to DECC's background note on the Bill, such loans will be included in the Bill.

·    The rapid establishment of a Green Investment Bank.

The new bank must be properly capitalised with a remit to support small businesses and energy efficiency, not just mega-projects. It shouldn't be used to fund new nuclear power stations.  DECC's background note says this "may" be included in the Bill, despite being included in both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat manifestos.

·    A tough Emissions Performance Standard setting a limit for carbon emissions from new power stations which will ensure only the most efficient power stations are built in future.  DECC's background note says powers to regulate coal fired stations "may" be included - despite both coalition parties backing an EPS applying to all power stations before the election.

·    A more ambitious feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme.

The FIT scheme, which gives a guaranteed long-term payment to homes, businesses, communities and farmers for all the green electricity they produce from renewable schemes up to 5 MW in size (equivalent to two wind turbines), should be extended. It should include wave, tidal and offshore wind power and double the size of the green electricity schemes it covers to up to 10 MW.  Both parties backed improvements to the feed-in tariffs scheme to provide further support to community energy schemes during the election campaign, but the DECC background note does not list these changes as included in the Bill.

·    A requirement for all properties to include an Energy Performance

Certificates when they are put on the market.  Information should also be displayed on all advertising materials.

·    The setting of a minimum energy efficiency standard for all private rented properties.

A national landlords register should be introduced and minimum energy efficiency standards should be increased over time. Landlords should be encouraged to take action with tax breaks and low-interest loans.

·    Energy efficiency standards to make homes in the social housing sector more efficient to heat and power.

·    A mandatory requirement for cost-effective energy efficiency measures whenever a property is sold or let.

DECENTRALISATION AND LOCALISM BILL

·    The introduction of local  carbon budgets to ensure that councils play their part in developing a low- carbon future.

·    The introduction of local renewable energy targets to ensure councils help meet UK green energy goals.

2. Friends of the Earth is also calling on the Government to introduce a new law to tackle the greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation caused by the UK's dependence on imported feeds for meat and dairy. Visit http://www.fixthefoodchain.com/ for more information.

If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

 

Published by Friends of the Earth Trust