Chancellor Darling Unveils $811 Million 'Green Stimulus' in UK

UK Chancellor Alistair Darling has unveiled a $811 million “green stimulus” and committed to retaining the Renewable Obligation till 2037, in his Pre-Budget report presented to the House of Commons.

The government’s green stimulus embraced capital spending for energy efficiency installations, rail transport and adaptation measures.

Presenting the Pre-Budget Report to the House of Commons, Darling said, “Our climate change strategy is based on a range of policies – encouraging more fuel-efficient business and transport; better energy use at home, and targets for renewable energy generation.”

The stimulus comprises $151 million of new funding for Warm Front, a programme providing grants for house insulations and heating improvements, “on top of [$75.5 million] of spending on the programme brought forward now to support the economy”.

It also provides $91 million to equip 16,000 social houses with energy efficiency and heating improvements. The stimulus also includes investments in infrastructure, providing $453 million for delivery of 200 new train carriages, $30 million for flood defences and $7.5 million for British Water infrastructure.

Chancellor Darling has also announced that the Renewable Obligation will be extended for an additional 10 years to 2037, in order to ensure investors can plan with confidence for the future.

The report also announced installing 600,000 insulation measures this winter through the $10.1 billion Home Energy Saving Programme.

The Chancellor’s words that “the economic recovery must support our environmental objectives – not come at its expense” were followed by the announcement that over the next three years, government policies will drive more than $75.5 billion of investment and activity in the low-carbon sector.

The pre-budgetary report was warmly welcomed by the industry but sceptically by leading environmentalists. British Wind Energy Association was particularly pleased by the extension of the Renewable Obligation, but the executive director of Greenpeace said that the Chancellor had blown a “historic opportunity to invest billions in a low-carbon, high technology future”.

Source: New Energy Finance

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