Renewable energy targets for councils on the election agenda

Labour announces intention to impose renewable energy targets on local authorities in an attempt to overcome Tory wind farm opposition, reports Envido.

Online PR News – 29-April-2010 – – Climate change came back into the election agenda as a live issue yesterday when the three main parties argued over each other's credentials for fighting global warming with special attention to renewable energy.

Energy and climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, revealed yesterday plans to impose renewable energy targets designed to overcome council level opposition to renewable energy projects such as wind farms.

Miliband blamed Conservative councils for the UK's relatively poor record on renewable energy to date arguing that they were consistently guilty of blocking plans for onshore wind farms. He added that a new Labour government would place a greater obligation on local authorities to deliver renewable energy projects, by ensuring they have to meet specific targets.

Councils to deliver 15% of its energy from renewable energy by 2020

Miliband said that if elected Labour would impose a target similar to the UK's over arching target to deliver 15% of its energy from renewables by 2020 on local councils. Councils would still have the freedom to reject renewable energy projects they regarded as inappropriate, but they would have to play an active role in meeting the UK's overall renewables target.

Tory shadow energy and climate change secretary Greg Clark refused to commit the Conservatives to local renewable energy targets. He said that while the party supported legally-binding renewable energy targets for the whole country, regional targets could potentially undermine the democratic planning system.

Lib Dem energy and climate change spokesman Simon Hughes said councils should "absolutely" be obliged to meet renewable energy targets. He added that Lib Dem councils took six of the top 10 spots in a league table of councils' renewable energy performance and had a record of pioneering environmental policies at a local level.

Darren Johnson, prospective Green Party candidate for Deptford and Lewisham, also present in the debate, said that the Greens had the most ambitious proposals for delivering an increase in renewable energy capacity through its plans to invest over £40bn in low carbon infrastructure.

Nuclear power is one of the starkest differences, with the Labour Government and the Tories embracing it as part of a low-carbon future because it produces virtually no carbon emissions in generating electricity. Whereas, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens are prevalent against new nuclear power stations contemplated by other parties, and support only renewable energy projects.