The Science and Technology Committee has published a new report warning that the UK isn’t remotely close to reaching upcoming carbon budgets up to 2032, outlining 10 key policy areas that need to be addressed if the UK is to deliver on its net-zero ambitions. The shortfalls: 1) The report criticises the decision to reduce the ‘plug-in grant’ for the lowest-emission vehicles in October 2018, with financial incentives cut completely for some low-emission vehicles; 2) Despite public transport fares for trains and buses being allowed to increase year-on-year over a nine-year period, fuel duty has been frozen over that timeframe; 3) The closure of the feed-in tariff for low-carbon power generation has been criticised by many, and the report lists the closure as another key shortfall; 4) The Energy Companies Obligation scheme was restricted to vulnerable households in November 2018, despite the Government conceding that this would result in lower carbon emissions reductions being achieved, the report notes; 5) In 2017, the Government launched a consultation on how to build a market for those able to pay for their own domestic energy efficiency improvements. However, the report states that this has still not been announced as a new policy framework’; 6) No consultation has been launched on improving energy efficiency in relation to building regulations, despite the Government claiming it would do so after the zero-carbon homes policy was axed in 2015; 7) Business rates on solar panels have increased between three to eight-fold since 2017, according to the report, creating thousands of pounds in additional costs for businesses, schools, SMEs and hospitals each year; 8) Both onshore wind and large-scale solar have been excluded from the Contract for Difference (CfD) financial support mechanism since 2017. In the same time, planning permission for onshore wind farms has become “more difficult to obtain”, the report states; 9) The ‘Renewable Heat Incentive’ scheme is due to close in 2021 but no replacement scheme has yet been announced; 10) The Government’s White Paper on ‘The future of the energy market’ was due to be published in the early months of this year, but is still yet to be published as we approach autumn.
Edie 22nd Aug 2019 read more »