Author Archives: Ed Davey

Liberal Democrats need to reform

A central tenet of Liberalism is trust in the people. That’s why reforming our party must be built on greater trust in our members and supporters. And why for me this new reform process must itself be open and belong to the members.

The most exciting change to our party in the last 3 years has been the increase in members.

In Kingston, people who’ve joined us since the 2015 General Election have been key to our revival: from getting the fantastic Sarah Olney elected in North Kingston to our best ever Kingston Borough Council results this May – with a dozen “newbies” now councillors.

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Ed Davey MP writes….My family, my party

Last weekend I went glamping. with Emily and our children, John and Ellie. This luxury form of camping was my birthday present to my super-patient wife, and our first proper time to reflect together after the General Election.

And to cut to the chase, I’ve come back to Westminster more determined than ever to campaign hard for the party Emily and I both love – but not to campaign to lead the party at this moment.

When Tim resigned, I assumed Jo would go for it, and I would have supported her. She gave understandable reasons why she didn’t – so here are my reasons, some similar to Jo’s.

Emily and I met through the party. I was chairing a Housing Policy Working Group and she was a member, as a social housing lawyer. What could be more romantic?

Our joy this weekend was seeing our two children play together. And when you understand that John (aged 9) is severely disabled, you will appreciate that seeing our 3 year old daughter make him laugh is quite special.

And if it helps explain my decision not to run just a little more, please remember that my father died when I was 4 and my mother when I was 15. Being there for my children over the next few crucial years and to see those special moments is my personal priority.

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Ed Davey writes…Nous sommes Paris

Wow! How did that happen? The United Nations has just agreed the first ever universal climate deal – and it’s better for the global environment than anyone had dared hope for.

For once, believe hyperbole: this is the most significant international agreement since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945.

Here’s just 5 things from Paris that make this so good:

In the run up to Paris, more than 180 countries made commitments to cut emissions significantly;

  1. They agreed a surprisingly strong 5 year review or “ratchet” mechanism for bolder future commitments to cut emissions further;
  2. They backed a new long term goal to make sure global warming stays “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, heading to greenhouse gas neutrality in the second half of this century – meaning the effective ending of fossil fuels;
  3. Increased support for poorer countries to help them – whether in the low carbon transition or in adapting to climate change impacts already with us;
  4. Huge progress on the “rules” for how we decarbonise the world, including key technical stuff on audit and accounting and crucially, strong transparency rules, so we know what countries are actually doing.
  5. And if you don’t believe me, listen to the majority of NGOs: from Greenpeace to Christian Aid, there’s been a huge welcome. And those businesses and financial institutions who take climate seriously are predicting a massive rise in investment in clean green technology.
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Ed Davey writes: On the eve of a climate breakthrough …

 

Whatever the press report on the Paris UN Climate Change agreement, it’s already clear there are 3 things we should remind people about:

  • first, it’s great news the whole world has come together to make the first ever global climate change agreement, so elusive over the last 25 years;
  • second, the impressive commitments to cut greenhouse gases are huge steps forward – and should make the remaining vital steps easier and cheaper;
  • third, Liberal Democrats played a major role towards this agreement – in leading the UK’s policy for Paris, in shaping the European Union’s and by representing the UK at the previous 5 UN climate summits – the essential building blocks for this weekend’s success in Paris.
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Ed Davey MP writes… Green energy auction paves way for 27 new renewables projects and thousands of green jobs across the UK

A few wind turbinesThis morning I announced the results of the first auction for green energy generation. The results are impressive – more clean energy at lower costs.

Thanks to this first renewable electricity competition of its kind, I have offered contracts to 27 renewable energy projects across the UK.  Enough to power 1.4 million homes and save the equivalent carbon emissions of taking 2 million cars off the road.

The projects include offshore wind and onshore wind and solar, and will create thousands of green jobs.

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Ed Davey writes … Warmer, cheaper, greener homes for people in rented properties

warmer homesToday marks a landmark achievement for Lib Dems in government. Up to 1 million tenants renting energy inefficient leaky homes will be able to benefit from new regulations and so enjoy warmer homes and cheaper energy bills.  Clearly this will particularly help the fuel poor: those living in the leakiest privately-rented homes already need to spend an average £1,000 a year more to keep warm compared to the average home.

These new regulations will deliver two important changes:

  • From April 2018 private landlords will not be able to rent out properties which do not meet minimum energy efficiency standards; and
  • From April 2016 residential private landlords can’t unreasonably turn down a tenant’s request for energy efficiency improvements. This will mean landlords have to accept the request if they can get help through widely available support like Green Deal finance,  the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO), or grants from the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund.
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Live from Lima….Ed Davey writes from the Climate Change Talks

I’m half way through my third day at the Lima UN climate change talks and the negotiations look set to go to the wire this weekend.

But that’s not because there’s some crisis in the global talks – it’s because these are the most technically complex and politically challenging global negotiations ever. To make global agreements on how we move our carbon world to a low carbon world is an extraordinary task.

And the good news is that – thanks to Liberal Democrats in government – we come to the talks with a good story to tell – one of leading through example.  Of walking the walk, and unlike some, not just talking the green talk.  You may have read that Michael Gove prevented the Tory Climate Change Minister from attending the talks and I will leave it to him to explain his actions.

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Ed Davey MP writes…An Autumn Statement for more green energy and more help to keep energy bills down.

Liberal Democrats in Government already have a record of green energy delivery to be proud of.  Renewable electricity generation and investment have both more than doubled since 2010 and our reforms will create 250,000 low carbon jobs by the end of the decade.  Britain is ranked No.1 in the world for offshore wind investment, onshore wind now produces around 5% of the UK’s electricity and solar generating capacity increased by 60% last year.

But is that where the story ends?  No, and our ambition outlined in the Autumn Statement proves it.  The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project is something I asked my Department to look into some time ago.  We’ve now announced the initial talks we’ve had with the Swansea team will be stepped up a gear and it’s possible formal negotiations could start as early as next month.

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Ed Davey MP writes….The politics of renewables

Yesterday I was in Manchester speaking at the RenewableUK Annual Conference, and then on to see a fascinating energy efficiency project led by students in Parrs Wood School in John Leech’s constituency.

My Manchester speech focused on the politics of renewables – both the good news and the bad.

The good news is that renewables investment is in great shape. Since 2010, an average £7 billion a year has been invested – more than double that under Labour’s last term in office.  We are now seen as No.1 in the world for attracting investment in offshore wind, wave and tidal.

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Ed Davey MP writes…Signed, sealed and delivered, an ambitious climate change deal for Europe

Wind turbine - Some rights reserved by thomas vlWe’ve done it!  For Liberal Democrats in government, this EU climate deal is our most significant green win so far.  While Liberal Democrats are passionate about tackling climate change, the likes of Owen Paterson and UKIP seem to delight in talking down the threat that it poses, but that should make us even more determined to tell people why this deal is so crucial.

What have we achieved?  An ambitious Europe-wide climate change deal that will see greenhouse gases cut by at least 40% by 2030.  Other countries wanted a lower target, but I argued that the science demanded higher. And I was determined that if in next year’s UN climate talks other countries like the US and China show similar ambition, Europe should be ready to increase its efforts still further – so the words “at least” in the deal are more important than normal.

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Ed Davey MP writes…Tackling climate change

Flooding in Cedar Rapids, IAI’m writing from the Climate Change Summit in New York, hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. While Liberal Democrats don’t need reminding just how much of a threat climate change is – from the increased risks of flooding, to the impact on the world’s poorest – I thought it timely to give you an update on the progress we’ve made and what comes next.

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Ed Davey writes… Delivering on climate change & delivering on fuel poverty

Ed Davey - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsI write this while on a visit to India. A few weeks ago I was in the US, and I’ve just left China. Why? These three countries are the world’s biggest emitters and the series of meetings I’m having all focus on paving the way for a global climate change deal next year. In the UK, and with our partners across the EU we are gaining momentum for an ambitious deal, which I hope will result in a domestic …

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Ed Davey MP writes…Investing in green energy

offshore wind farmToday I published the Government’s first ever ‘Energy Investment Report’.  It shows how Liberal Democrats in Government have delivered on jobs and investment in energy – particularly green energy – and shows the plan we now have for this to continue for decades to come.

Let me be clear – investment in the energy sector has not been a ‘nice to have’.  We inherited a legacy of energy underinvestment from Labour and we’ve spent the last four years turning this around.   The sheer scale of the investment has already …

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Edward Davey MP writes… A better deal for people on ‘pre-payment’ energy meters

Electric Meter on the Back of the HouseLiberal Democrats in Government are doing everything possible to help consumers with their energy bills.  Just last week I announced that by the end of the year energy suppliers will halve the time it takes to switch energy supplier from the current five to two and a half weeks.  This is just the first step to achieving my ambition of achieving 24 hour switching.

But there is more that can be done, and I have written to energy suppliers asking them to now focus on …

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Edward Davey MP writes… Massive boost for clean, green energy

2008 - Evopod 1/10th Sea Trials @ PortaferryToday I have announced the award of 8 new contracts for renewable electricity projects which will provide around £12 billion of private sector investment and once built will contribute around 4% of Britain’s electricity capacity.

These projects will support 8500 jobs and our overall electricity reform plans will generate over 200,000 green jobs. These projects and the jobs created will be across Britain – from the Moray Firth to Liverpool Bay and from Teesside to Norfolk.

Five of the projects are for offshore …

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Ed Davey MP writes… An onshore wind cap makes no sense

A few wind turbinesRarely a week goes by without an onshore wind story appearing in the media – normally negative, with some Conservative source trying to undermine this important source of renewable energy. The past few weeks have been no different.

First, let’s set the record straight. Liberal Democrats in Government will not accept a cap on onshore wind. Of course what other parties choose to put in their manifestos is a matter for them. But this Coalition Government is not changing tack on onshore wind or renewables and we will not …

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Edward Davey writes… Gas profits

Gas flame burning, creative pictureLast year I asked Ofgem, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) & the new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to start producing annual competition assessments which will look at the way energy companies operate in detail.  They will also set out any actions they deem necessary.

The first of their reviews will be published this Spring and I have just written to them outlining new evidence I want to be considered as part of their investigations.

Essentially the new evidence focuses on the profits some energy companies are making …

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Ed Davey MP writes…£2m for low carbon heat networks

Ed Davey meets Paul Burstow and Sutton Councillors at Heat network funding...Today I visited Lib Dem controlled Sutton to announce £2 million of DECC funding for developing low carbon local heat networks. The money will go to 26 local authorities – including Sutton – to develop their own local projects.

By 2030 around 14% of UK heat demand could be met by these networks and around 43% by 2050. While it is up to each local authority to develop their own projects, the idea is that networks source heat from a central source – for example landfill – and then deliver it through insulated pipes to offices, apartments and social housing.

This will provide low carbon heating, and potentially bring down energy bills too.

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Ed Davey writes… Power to the people

Power to the People! Edward Davey and Greg Barker in BrixtonFor those of you old enough to remember, ‘Power to the People’ was the battle cry of ‘Wolfie Smith’, Robert Lindsay’s character in the BBC sitcom ‘Citizen Smith’. The running joke of the series was that while he had radical and revolutionary ideas, the delivery side was left somewhat lacking.

What I’ve announced today is both radical and sets out how community energy will be delivered. Astonishingly, it’s Britain’s first ever community energy strategy and will empower …

Posted in Op-eds | 23 Comments

Edward Davey MP writes…Lib Dem led British diplomacy paves way for global climate change deal

Liberal Democrats in Government are having a huge impact on tackling climate change, and today you’ve seen concrete evidence of how we’re winning the debate – not just in the UK, but across the EU and potentially beyond.

The main prize is huge – we’re working towards a global climate change deal that will be discussed at the critical 2015 talks.  But how do we get there?

Firstly, I got cross-Government agreement on an ambitious UK position. We have pushed for a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across the EU by 2030. We want this increased to 50% if the rest …

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Ed Davey MP writes: Energy Act will create 200,000 green jobs

We will have to get used to calling it an Act, as the Energy Bill that I’ve been driving through Parliament is now law.

Creating the world’s first ever low carbon electricity market is a major achievement for the Liberal Democrats and the Coalition.  And it has been delivered on time.

So, what will the Energy Act deliver?

It will create 200,000 green jobs.

The framework we’ve now put in place will create 250,000 jobs in the energy sector by 2020 – and 200,000 of them in renewables.  The investment that we’re unlocking will produce green jobs up and down the country in offshore …

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Edward Davey MP writes: Liberal Democrats continue to oppose Heathrow expansion

The Davies Commission’s interim report published yesterday has elicited many column inches in the newspapers but little clarity from the other two major parties as to the basis on which they will judge the final report.

In contrast, Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats made our approach to the Davies Commission clear yesterday. We will not endorse an expansion in airport capacity which would increase noise pollution for the hundreds of thousands of residents living beneath the flight path or break the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations on aviation. Of course we will look at what the final …

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Ed Davey MP writes…Big boost for investment in renewable electricity

It may seem to Lib Dem Voice readers that important energy announcements are a bit like buses. You wait some time for one and then several come along together. So hard on the heels of Monday’s energy bills package today Danny Alexander announced the final strike prices for renewable technologies and also which companies had qualified for the final stage of being awarded early investment contracts. This is good news for investment in the UK’s infrastructure and good news for our move to a low carbon economy.

On the back of these announcements we expect an additional £40 billion of …

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Ed Davey writes… Lower energy bills – with good deal for the fuel poor, green energy and the green deal

Energy-bills-006Energy bills are a hot political topic. Since 2005, energy bills have almost doubled at a time when many people’s incomes have barely risen. The cause of these rises has been almost entirely rising wholesale gas prices on international markets. Yet despite that and even though the cost of government policies only represents 9% on the average bill, it is right the Government has closely scrutinised our policy costs, and found a way to reduce them, to deliver an average saving of £50.

The fact we have done so whilst protecting …

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Ed Davey MP writes… Hinkley Point C – a big step forward for energy decarbonisation

Today I announced that we have reached an outline commercial agreement with EDF to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset.

I know this will cause a wide range of reactions within the party. Most will welcome this very significant step forward in our plans to decarbonise our energy sector. A substantial minority I know will be disappointed. Before outlining the terms of what I believe is a good deal for the British consumer let me repeat what I said at the Glasgow conference as to why I have changed my mind and now believe that nuclear has …

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Ed Davey writes… Keeping down household energy bills

House of Commons at NightYesterday, I outlined why Labour’s energy policies would be bad for consumers, bad for tackling climate change and risk the lights going out.

However misguided Ed Miliband’s energy policies are there is no doubt that he was seeking to respond to the fact that many consumers are feeling the pinch through rising energy bills. The recent price increases by SSE and British Gas will hit consumers hard and I am afraid there will be more to come.

So what is our response?

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Ed Davey MP writes… Labour’s energy policy is a con

Energy-bills-006“There is no such thing as a free lunch” was one of the first things I learnt in economics. But it seems that Ed Miliband thinks there is. He seems to believe that you can have freeze energy prices for 20 months with no adverse impacts. It may have seemed a politically smart thing to do leading into the traditional period of energy price increases. But it is likely to have really harmful consequences. In short, it’s a con.

Many commentators have already pointed out that energy companies will be free to …

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Edward Davey writes: Working in partnership to keep bills down

Energy-bills-006I’m very aware just how many people are worried about bills, not least their energy bills.  These concerns will only increase over the coming months as the nights draw in, the temperature begins to drop and the ‘on switch’ for the heating is flicked.

I’m doing everything I can to help people keep their bills down, from piloting ‘collective switching’ which allows communities to use their buying power to get the best deals from energy suppliers, to legislating to make sure the ‘Big 6’ simplify bills, and switch people who are on ‘dead tariffs’ to the cheapest variable deal they offer.  We are also introducing competitition to the market to ensure we level up the playing field for independent generators and suppliers.

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Ed Davey MP writes… Keeping the lights on with greener energy

Hopefully by the time you’ve read this you’ll be aware of the details I announced this morning to secure the future of energy supply for the UK – if not, and excuse the pun –  let me enlighten you.

As you know already, we have a plan in the form of the Energy Bill that is progressing well through Parliament.  The plan essentially addresses a major issue – we need to attract £110 billion of private sector investment to replace the supply we lose as a result of 20% of our power stations closing by the end of this

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Ed Davey MP writes…Green jobs, cleaner energy, keeping the lights on and bills down

The Energy Bill returns to the House of Commons tomorrow. It’s a crucial Bill that will help deliver all of the above, but clearly one issue – the 2030 decarbonisation target for the power sector – has been the focus of much attention over the last few months. Let’s be clear, such a target wasn’t mentioned in any party’s manifesto or the Coalition Agreement, or in the draft Bill when I became Secretary of State. But because we won the argument in Government, and the Bill now provides for a target, Britain will be the first country in the world …

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    Fair comment David. But I still remember the conference apparently unperturbed by the speech. I am sure that Harold Wilson’s action was in the best...
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