Plea for energy efficiency to be made a national priority

Lord Deben, chairman of the Committee on Climate Change.
Lord Deben, chairman of the Committee on Climate Change.
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BUSINESS LEADERS have urged the Government to set clear long-term goals for low-carbon energy and harness the growth of a sector that is already worth more than £120billion a year.

Companies including John Lewis and BT are among those who have contributed to a report that calls on Ministers to set targets for how much emissions need to fall by around 2030 to help deliver reductions of greenhouse gases from the UK economy.

Campaigners want energy efficiency to be a national infrastructure priority, warning the building insulation market has contracted by more than a fifth despite buildings being responsible for 37 per cent of UK emissions.

Business executives, academics and campaigners all contributed to the report from the Aldersgate Group. Among their suggestions on how the Government should drive energy efficiency are installing LED lights in hospitals and factories, labelling electricity according to its carbon content and the Government leading by example by putting in clean technology in its own estate.

Lord Deben, chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, used his introduction to the report to call on the Government to create market conditions which would encourage innovation and the commercialisation of new technologies.

He said: “We must give investors confidence and face the fact we don’t have a ‘free’ market. Instead we have a very expensive and controlled market. Fossil fuels are sold at a price which doesn’t cover the costs they impose on the NHS, local authorities, and certainly not the horrendous cost they demand of the planet.”

He also called for funding levels for the “levy control framework” to be extended an extra five years to 2025, and to set a target to strip carbon emissions from the power sector by no later than 2030.