Words alone won’t deliver green economy, warns Prospect


Words alone won’t deliver green economy, warns Prospect

Energy union Prospect has called on the coalition government to make firm decisions on the future of new nuclear build in the UK, rather than continuing to leave the issue on the back burner.

Commenting on the latest Annual Energy Statement and 2050 Pathways Analysis launched by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Prospect Head of Research Sue Ferns said:

“Scenario planning has been a part of the landscape since 2002. What we need now is decisions and actions. Yet reading between the lines, these documents contain key areas of inaction, particularly in relation to new nuclear build, without which the UK’s climate change objectives simply won’t be met.”

Prospect has three concerns:

  • Government intervention is needed ensure a more robust and longer-term framework for financial investment in low-carbon energy developments. But the budget announcement of a Green Investment Bank has been parked until after October’s spending review – and gets no mention at all in the 252-page Pathways Analysis.
  • The coalition’s withdrawal of an £80m loan to Sheffield Forgemasters to build castings for nuclear reactors shows that government calls to develop a ‘strong and competitive’ nuclear supply chain in the UK are empty words.
  • If the Government is to remove ‘unnecessary barriers’ to new build, it needs to do more about pay so that it can recruit the specialists needed to overcome the hurdles of regulatory justification and generic design assessment.
Ferns said: “The coalition started out pledging to be the greenest government ever but so far the evidence is not there. It has already announced cuts of £85m in DECC, £35m of them directly affecting low-carbon technology projects. It has abolished the Infrastructure Planning Commission and plans to withdraw funding from the Sustainable Development Commission.

“We don’t need further consultation or short-sighted cost-cutting. We need action.”