How green was the spending review?

Trawling through the details of today’s spending review, Liberal Democrat concerns for the environment look to have got a pretty strong showing, with overall a 21% increase in environmental spending in cash terms during the spending review period. That makes the environment one of the areas to benefit most from the limited amounts of extra spending, and the initiatives include:

  • A Green Investment Bank – heavily trailed, but going ahead with a capitalisation of £1 billion plus money from asset sales.
  • Carbon Capture and Storage – at least £1 billion will go on funding a demonstration project.
  • Tackling fuel poverty – the Green Deal is going ahead along with reforms to the obligations on energy companies so that every home gets proper insulation.
  • Renewable Heat Incentive – aiming for a ten-fold increase in renewable heat and to generate a strong British industrial sector for this technology.
  • Offshore wind power – as with Carbon Capture and Storage and Renewable Heat, there is to be support to build up a British industrial sector, including support for offshore wind manufacturing infrastructure at port sites.
  • International action on climate change – £2.9bn committed for action on international climate finance, in line with the Copenhagen Accord.

There is plenty of other detail too, but the common themes are significant financial commitments and an emphasis on support industries that may generate new jobs.

The verdict of RenewableUK, the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries, has been favourable saying that, “given the range of cuts necessary to reduce the UK’s deficit, the part of the spending review dealing with renewable energy and the environment is credible and considered … While the status of the Marine Renewables Development Fund, which allocates funding for wave and tidal, is at this stage unclear, announcements on the Green Investment Bank, the continued support for the Renewable Obligation funding mechanism and the feed-in tariff, has reassured the industry that the Government remains committed to supporting the sector and reaching the 2020 targets on reducing carbon emissions.”

Overall Chris Huhne looks to have come out of the spending review with one of the most Liberal Democrat packages.

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22 Comments

  • tory boys never grow 20th Oct '10 - 11:13pm

    Of course you fail to mention that the Carbon Capture expenditure is on a smaller scale than was previously being considered or the cancellation of the Thames barrage project.

    And of course we have nothing from LibDemVoice on the overall fairness of the announced changes. I notice that the methodology for assessing this has changed since the budget and that despite the high priority given to fairness by the current regime that they haven’t submitted either the new methodology or the figures arising to review by the OBR or any other body.

  • Then I presume you will eventually get round to having a post on the cuts in general George.
    Otherwise you are simply censoring opinion on the biggest subject of the day since there was nothing remotely abusive about that post, though it was admittedly scathing about how the cuts will affect the poor and vulnerable.

  • erratum – Mark not George.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 21st Oct '10 - 12:29am

    It really is bizarre that LDV hasn’t seen fit to report what will undoubtedly be the most important story of the parliament, with the exception of this rather pathetic puff piece for a billion here and a billion there on the environment.

    Does the fact that huge areas of public spending are going to be slashed by 25% (or more in some cases) really not warrant any comment from you at all?

  • Give them time.
    They are working out their ‘narrative’ and spin on telling us how this is actually Nick standing up for the poor and the vulnerable in society while the base has it all wrong as usual.
    Which will be a great argument for the elections. We should print that on some leaflets.

    As for the green trimmings, when Cameron finally has the guts to tell his Party to get real on climate change, instead of keeping almost completely silent on it for months, then I’ll believe all this isn’t just ‘greenwash’ public relations.

  • Terry Gilbert 21st Oct '10 - 7:52am

    Mark, do you know what the Government line is on the has change in the terms of the Carbon Reduction Commitment? I understand that instead of providing incentives for reducing carbon emissions by funneling rewards to the businesses that reduce emissions most, the Treasury will now be clawing back all of the money. Unfortunately, this undermines the claims you make about how green the SR was.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11593877

  • Emsworthian 21st Oct '10 - 9:11am

    The Green Investment Bank is a promising concept but nobody knows
    how it will work or whether it will work at all. CCS technology
    is very expensive and unproven and anyway the best way of dealing with carbon
    is to minimise its production.. The money for climate change is recycled from
    overseas aid and its now widely accepted that Copenhagen was a dead
    letter although to his credit young Miliband worked hard to make it otherwise
    when he was over there. The CRC money originally meant to help go greener ends up in a general fund
    The good news; pushing Trident to the right, retaiing the feed-in tariffs but higher fares
    mean more road traffic and more carbon.

  • Joss Garman 21st Oct '10 - 9:11am
  • toryboysnevergrowup 21st Oct '10 - 9:40am

    Mark

    Where are on topic comments to be made on off topic posts. I’m afraid this blog is increasingly beginning to sound like LibDem Pravda with the crumbs from the Tory table performing the role of tractor statistics.

  • “there are several very recent threads in which benefit changes are discussed in great detail.”

    But not the benefit changes in the public spending review which were shocking even to those fully expecting Osborne to bring the hammer down on the poor. And since this whole spending review is being talked about in terms of how it hits the poor hardest, it seems obtuse to be talking about the (yes, interesting) but at the moment ancillary issues of how the cuts affect each department rather than tackling the elephant in the room of how these cuts affect rich and poor head on.

    I’m also rather more concerned with the impact of the proposed eight new nuclear power stations than some of these worthy but fairly detail free pledges.

  • @LDV Bob ‘ I’m also rather more concerned with the impact of the proposed eight new nuclear power stations’
    Hopefully you are in favour of these Green, secure and (relatively)cheap sources of power.

  • Terry Gilbert 21st Oct '10 - 11:03am

    @Anthony – I am disappointed that you have relinquished your membership. But I am cheered by the news that 54% of remaining members support Higher Education funded by general taxation. Social Liberals need to retain membership (and thus voting rights within the party – we are currently electing Federal Committees) in order to prevent the Right from taking over completely, and governing in alliance with the Tories for several Parliaments.

  • well the coalition / Huhne cancelled the Severn Barrage which would have produced 5% of the nation’s power. So for that alone the review was a disaster, spin notwithstanding

  • @S McG

    I’m concerned that “no government subsidy” will be another broken pledge to add to “reject a new generation of power stations” considering the monstrous cost of these plants. This has to include the enormous cost decommissioning, as David Pollard pointed out, as well as re-insuring and other costs.

    “seeing as how the majority of his party do not think climate change is important.”

    The majority of his Party do not even believe in climate change would be closer to the truth.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 21st Oct '10 - 2:47pm

    Perhaps the Tories are saving Huhne’s Damascene conversion for a later date when the decision is made for him on nuclear power.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 21st Oct '10 - 2:54pm

    “I am disappointed that you have relinquished your membership. But I am cheered by the news that 54% of remaining members support Higher Education funded by general taxation.”

    What’s the good of that?

  • Against this good news is the RPI + 3% on regulated rail fares though whilst motoring taxes remain unchanged, as far as a I can remember. And car transport is one of the main polluters!

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