MPs criticise lack of support for low-carbon innovators

The Government must do more to support companies developing products for the £3.4 trillion international market in low carbon goods and services, MPs have urged.

The Energy and Climate Change Committee warned of a “mismatch” between the level of Government ambition to support companies developing new technologies such as smart meters and renewable energy systems, and the resources allocated for it.

Companies often need support to bridge the “valley of death” to get innovative products to market, the MPs said, and developing low-carbon technologies is key to helping the UK meet targets to tackle climate change.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

But the body mainly responsible for delivering support, the Low Carbon Innovation Co-ordination Group (LCICG), was poorly resourced, had muddled governance, inadequate transparency and a lack of staff, the committee’s report said.

Tim Yeo, chairman of the ECC committee, said: “Entrepreneurs developing exciting new sustainable technologies sometimes need help to bridge the ‘valley of death’ and bring products to market. The Government should be doing all it can to support innovative UK businesses in their efforts to access the growing global market for low-carbon goods and services.”

He added: “These innovators could hold the key to getting the UK over the line on our carbon emissions targets, but it’s going to be much harder for them to do that without better co-ordination to get us all pulling in the same direction and making better use of limited public funds.”

The report follows up a National Audit Office study in 2010 which was critical of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s record on low-carbon technologies, with multiple agencies supporting innovation without pooling efforts adequately.

The ECC committee report said the Government had not made enough progress since then.

A DECC spokeswoman said: “We are now rated one of the best places to invest in renewables, as well as a world-leading centre in advanced offshore wind and carbon capture and storage technologies.

“We have improved our coordination with universities, industry and other public sector funders and we will continue to build on effective collaborations and target our funding to maximum effect.”