Labour’s ‘Clean Energy Superpower’ plan is a step in the right direction

Labour have released their ‘Making Britain a clean energy superpower’ briefing, which sets out the five national missions they will build their manifesto around and if elected, aim to deliver.

Their briefing evolve the climate narrative to one where industry is at the heart of change, rather than the enemy. This is a welcomed change, as the current strategy ignores the many barriers at play, such as underinvestment in the grid, a broken regulatory environment and localist view of transition.”

Labour’s ‘Mission Climate’ covers a range of topics, including: 

Clean power

GB energy, a British owned energy provider

Rebuilding British industry

Workers, trade unions and transition

Accelerating to Net Zero

An ambitious ‘Green Prosperity Plan’ has been proposed for each UK region, with a focus on insulating homes (nineteen million in a decade), lowering energy bills, and creating new jobs. This plan and places a strong emphasis on enabling change through investment and more importantly, planning reform.

Their ‘Accelerating to Net Zero’ proposals target affordable transport, reversing the decline of nature, increasing food security, and Green Finance.

Policies, not promises make the difference but when a party uses phrases such as ‘planning reform’ and ‘cites speeding up energy planning permissions from years to months’, you must applaud the conversation and ambition, particularly as grid connectivity can delay projects by years and in some cases, decades.

We see this already with renewable projects being eleven years behind their grid connection expectations or the fuss being made of whether we choose pylons or offshore grids, when both are needed. The constant stream of HBA member reports of delays or costly upgrades has been underlining that for some time and have ranged from decade long waits for connections on larger sites, to a trebling of costs on sites of fewer than ten homes.

It is also right to remain sceptical regarding the insulation proposals because the cited costs are nowhere near to the trillions required to do the job properly, and planning reform discussions aren’t present in relation to our hardest to retrofit homes. However, we welcome the proposal of a taskforce to establish a strategy and unlike others, hope this one will place those doing the work at its core.

Labour is taking a different approach and highlighting issues that the NFB, and others have been highlighting for a decade. Industry will always welcome politicians who see their role as enabling sustainable outcomes, not dictating them for political expedience.

 

Rico Wojtulewicz

Head of Housing and Planning Policy

National Federation of Builders