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Home » UK ‘must act now on renewable energy or risk being left behind’ – The Guardian

UK ‘must act now on renewable energy or risk being left behind’ – The Guardian

Government needs to introduce new ambitious energy policies before next general election, advisers say

Ministers must take control of the UK’s energy system, removing the barriers to planning permission and problems with the national electricity grid, to build the windfarms and other renewable power needed to meet net-zero goals, government advisers have warned.

Chris Stark, chief executive of the committee on climate change, the statutory adviser, said the task was too urgent to wait until after a general election, expected within the next 18 months. “It would be an enormous mistake to wait until the next general election to introduce new ambitious policy,” he said.

He highlighted the planning regime, which effectively prevents onshore windfarms from being built – despite government promises to remove the barriers – and which is one of the factors, along with lack of investment, stymying the construction of connections to the national electricity grid.

The planning regime was “gummed up”, Stark said. “The best response is to get the planning regime, the regulatory regime, and the consenting regime sorted out,” he said.

Stark urged the government to act within the next few weeks, saying there was a “window” as the chancellor of the exchequer delivers the budget next week, and before the end of the month a report is due from ministers on how they will meet the UK’s climate targets. “That is the window, to signal to the investor community that [the UK is] responding in the right way to this crisis, and have plans in place,” he said.

Without clear action from the government, the UK would miss out on vital investment opportunities, he warned, as rivals in the EU, China and the US have been gearing up rapidly for a trade war on green technology. The EU will set out next week plans to achieve its net-zero goals by building up green technology within the bloc, while the US is boosting green industries through its Inflation Reduction Act.

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